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World Peace Throws an Elbow

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Kent posted today about the decline of the culture.  As if on cue, we now hear that longtime NBA thug Ron Artest knocked an opposing player silly with an elbow to the head.

One might wonder why Artest is still in the league, having been suspended 12 times before for similar misconduct.  His most notorious episode was in 2004, when he was suspended 86 games for going into the stands to coldcock a fan.  He had eight episodes before then and three thereafter, most recently just last year.

Perhaps the reason this fellow is still in the league is that he showed his "redemption" by  --  ready now?  --  changing his name to "World Peace."  (Actually, the change was to "Metta World Peace," although no one seems to know what the "Metta" is for).

As Kent noted, what it has come to in this culture is that repeated, flagrant and even violent misbehavior is excused on the basis of little or no reason beyond the lack of backbone to do something effective to stop it.  Those of us who litigated criminal cases saw (and see) this every day.  There is simply no record of thuggishness so convincing that it can't be muzzed over with the latest quasi-perjury about the woe-begotten defendant's "syndrome" or "medical disorder." 

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, sometimes redemption is real.  Most of the time it's a bunch of baloney, as any honest person who has had to listen to a sentencing hearing knows.  But for however that may be as a general matter, if your defendant has just changed his name to "World Peace," wear a helmet.

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It's all about the money. Artest makes the NBA money, and he is part of the Lakers. It was a very cold and calculated move. This allows the Lakers to slide through the first round of the playoffs, which they can do without Artest (sorry, World Peace). There is no way the Lakers can make it out of the second round without him though. This "suspension" allows the Lakers to get him back for the second round of the playoffs, which means the odds that the Lakers, who are a cash cow for the NBA, have the best chance of moving through the playoffs. Ideally, the NBA would like to see the Lakers and Spurs or Lakers and Thunder in the Conference finals, as that would make them the most money. This "suspension" makes that possible.

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