David Stern Created Thuggery, Inc.
November 23, 2004

By Debbie Schlussel

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Is it any surprise that NBA player Ron Artest beat up fans in the stands?

It shouldn’t be.

Is it any surprise that NBA Chief David Stern gave him only a season suspension for beating up those fans?

It shouldn’t be.

If you’ve been following the National Basketball Association over the last few years, you shouldn’t be surprised that a player beat up innocent (and not so innocent) fans at an NBA game.

The NBA has become Thuggery, Inc.

And Stern is largely to blame.  That’s because Stern recruits kids from the killing fields of America to play for his league.  And he looks the other way when inbred street behavior manifests itself in these instant-millionaire SOWMBDs (Sons of “Who-My-Baby-Daddy”).  Or worse, he encourages it. 

When violence or a hint of violence erupts, Stern sees it not as a bad thing, but as just another notch in the NBA urban, hip-hop marketing campaign – a yet higher level of the street cred Stern and the NBA crave to make their sport more hip-hop in a less hip post-Air Jordan NBA.

Indiana Pacers player Ron Artest should have been banned from the game for life.  Anytime a player goes into the stands to physically attack fans, that player should be gone forever.  Pete Rose is gone from Major League Baseball for a lot less.  But David Stern doesn’t have the guts, doesn’t have the morals, decency, or guts to do so.

Consider Stern’s past record of “discipline”:

David Stern’s response:  Nothing. Ward apologized and had a brief meeting with a Rabbi.  No word on whether he was forced to ingest gefilte fish.

So, when Ron Artest goes into the stands to fight spectators half his size, David Stern can’t afford to give him the lifetime suspension he deserves for inexcusable violence (regardless of what precipitated it).

Imagine the marketing, the shoes sold, the licensing fees, the sold-out NBA arenas, and the press coverage when Ron Artest enters the basketball court in any market, next season.

Ron Artest, who claims he doesn’t know what the word “integrity” means (he said he needed a dictionary to look up that “big word”), wanted a few months off to promote his new rap CD, a la Allen Iverson.  Now, David Stern has not only given him that reward but more publicity than he could have ever hoped for between now and next season.

David Stern is a smart marketer.  After looking the other way and condoning violence for years, he isn’t about to forgo the sweet sound of that carefully cultivated cha-ching.

Thuggery sells even better than sex.  It’s a slam dunk.

And this season, it’s Artest-ry in motion.