UPDATE: 5:00 p.m. The NBA has suspended Metta World Peace for seven games. The Lakers have one regular season game remaining, Thursday night in Sacramento. He will miss the first six games of the playoffs.
It was the elbow felt around the sports world.
Ron Artest Metta World Peace leveled Oklahoma City’s James Harden with a swinging elbow that would have made most MMA fighters proud. The slow-motion replay of World Peace’s elbow striking the side of Harden’s head is tough to watch.
Instant reaction was for the NBA to drop the hammer on World Peace. Yes, I feel a bit silly writing that. At this moment, the NBA still has not announced the punishment.
Even Metta jumped into the conversation after he watched a replay of the damage he caused.
Now, Warriors coach Mark Jackson has added his thoughts to the controversy. This morning on The Rise Guys on The Game 95.7, Jackson was asked how he would punish World Peace if he were NBA commissioner:
“I don’t think you can say that it was intentional. You can guess that it was intentional — the footage shows that it was somewhat intentional. But at the same time, I think that he is the same way we treated him as Ron Artest in the past and said what his body of work said. We also gotta treat him as Metta World Peace.”
I disagree with Coach Jackson. Just because the guy changed his name doesn’t mean he’s a different person. His history wasn’t wiped clean. He’s the same guy, so treat him like the same guy. Ron Artest made an appearance when Thunder players confronted him. He assumed a fighter’s stance as if he was ready to fight them. Metta World Peace is Ron Artest with a stupid name.
Jackson wasn’t done:
“He’s done a very good job of putting his life back together and being sane on the basketball court and not have any issues. That being said, a punishment has to go forth. I’m not one of those guys that say ‘the rest of the way’ and ‘no playoffs’ and all that. I think that’s drastic. You punish him a couple of games and you move forward.”
Again, I disagree. I believe the punishment needs to be severe. World Peace gave an opponent a concussion. It could change the outcome of the playoffs if Harden misses playoff games. If it were up to me, I would suspend World Peace for length of the Lakers’ stay in the playoffs.
Punishments need to send a message that’s loud and clear, not only to the player being disciplined, but to the rest of the league.