In what some are calling the worst sports brawl of all time, Indiana Pacers forward and fledging rap star Ron Artest charged the stands to fight with a fan in an NBA game last Friday night. In Auburn Hills, Mich., the Pacers were under a minute away from beating the Detroit Pistons when the Pistons’ Ben Wallace took exception to a hard Artest foul. Wallace and Artest exchanged shoves, and moments later tempers were cooled – until a fan threw beer on Artest. The 250-pound athlete raced into the crowd and started throwing haymakers. With the help of Indiana’s Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal, Artest successfully dummied the fan and several others. When the players returned to the court, Artest was confronted by a short, overweight Pistons fan. Artest proceeded to drop a bomb on the fan’s face, causing an ensuing melee. Rumours in Detroit suggest that a police officer was assaulted by either O’Neal or Jackson, which means they might be playing ball for the state soon.
Toronto Raptor Vince Carter came out in support of the embattled Artest, saying, “You can’t blame a player for reacting that way.” Apparently NBA commissioner David Stern disagreed with Vince, saying that you actually can blame a player for reacting that way. Stern has suspended Artest for the rest of the season.
In a not-so-related story, another violent sports star was given a recent vote of confidence by some dude on a website. At www.freebertuzzi.com, fans of the Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi can support the player in his upcoming trial for assault. Bertuzzi pummeled Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore from behind during a game last year. The website offers t-shirts, bumper stickers and a blue ribbon in support of the player. Toronto Raptor Vince Carter said he was considering starting a site for Artest, with the domain name www.artestisamaniacwhobelongsinjail.com.