As a Mother raising two teenage sons, I have to say, I am appalled by the behaviour of these men at the N.B.A. game last week. Ron Artest seems to be getting all the press coverage but there were so many N.B.A. players suspended (am I surprised?). Let's not forget the disgusting behaviour exhibited by the so called fans, who should be banned from any sporting event ever again.
My sons participate in sports at a competitive level. They understand playing passionately and competitively is intense on the court but also know where to draw the sportsmanship line. They also watch a considerable amount of sports on T.V. They want to emulate and hopefully, follow in these "sportsmens" footsteps, one day, but more and more they are exposed to these crazy outbursts of bad behaviour by some athletes. What messages does this constant bad behavior tell my sons? That because you are a hero worshipped, overpaid, immature athlete you are above reproach? Does the word "Professional" not mean anything to these players?
Whether they like it or not, whether they want it or not, these players are Role Models. They have a responsibility to exhibit professional sportsmanlike behaviour.
If the suspension puts a dent in their egos or their earning potential that would be great but I have a feeling that more attention and more sponsorship may come out of this. I believe more people now know who Ron Artest is than ever before. Isn't it ironic, that with this suspension Ron Artest is going to have all the time he needs to go out and promote his record company?
There are too many players in the N.B.A. that seem to have over zealous egos. Yes, they may be talented but there are many talented people who do not have behavioural problems that could replace them. Why are the consequences not more extreme? It almost encourages these male egos to behave badly because nobody is man enough to hold them truly accountable for their actions. I do however, commend Mr. Stern for taking action swiftly, but should these young men still have futures in the N.B.A. when their suspensions are over? I am hoping some serious anger management is part of the deal for these players to continue playing in the N.B.A.
I hope all these players have time to reflect on their behavioural choices and remember that it is not a given but a privilege to be a professional athlete, they are replaceable.