The Pulse: Antonio Davis and Ron Artest

Updated: January 20, 2006, 5:19 PM ET
Thursday, Jan. 19

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.

Story of the Day: Revisiting Artest
 Antonio Davis
Will Davis be suspended?
Larry Brown dismissed the notion without a second thought, but how much of the reaction to Wednesday's incident in Chicago, when Antonio Davis went into the stands, is based on memories of Ron Artest going into the stands in Detroit? And just how much were our memories of that incident colored by the ensuing deluge of coverage?

It's impossible to see replays of Davis going over the scorer's table at the United Center and not think of those seconds after a cup-turned-projectile hit a prone Artest in Detroit, setting off what SportsNation considered the ugliest incident of fan-player violence in sports history. But in making the connection, much of the talk among fans and media has been about how different their perception is of the two incidents. More than 67 percent of voters don't think Davis should be suspended, with many chatters praising his restraint in calmly assessing the situation before returning to the court.

But how different are the two situations? In the immediate aftermath of the Artest melee, a healthy 41 percent of voters didn't fault the Indiana forward for going into the stands and 48 percent felt he should be suspended less than 10 games. But after months and months of television replays, criminal charges and media commentary, Artest's actions are regarded in a much harsher light.

Free from revisionist history, check out how SportsNation felt about Artest and the relationship between fans and media right after the incident in December of 2004.

(Results are from December, 2004)

Who is most to blame for Friday night's brawl in Detroit? (207,021 votes)
46.3% Detroit fans
39.0% Ron Artest
9.3% Ben Wallace
4.8% Detroit security
0.6% Referees

Present Tense
Davis says the fan who was harassing his wife was drunk, raising more questions about the prevalence of alcohol at professional sports games. Check out when voters think the sale of alcohol should end at NBA games.
35.7% After third quarter
24.8% Halftime
20.9% At the end of the game
18.4% Ban alcohol at games
Vote!

"The issue should not be about alcohol. I have been plenty drunk at games and have never harassed a player's family, or thrown a drink. The problem is fans who think they have the right to do whatever they want because they bought a ticket. ."
J.P. (New York) in the Quickie chat

Do you fault Ron Artest for going into the stands after being hit from close range by a full cup of beer and other items? (207,021 votes)
58.8% Yes, he has to have a cooler head and let security handle it.
41.2% No, any person has a right to defend him or herself in that situation.

What should happen to Ron Artest? (207,021 votes)
52.9% Suspended more than 10 games
19.6% Suspended 1-5 games
16.8% Suspended 6-10 games 10.7% Monetary fine but no suspension

Are fans hypocritical for blasting a loss of sportsmanship among professional athletes? (207,021 votes)
50.9% Yes. Have you been to a game lately? Fans have lost all civility.
49.1% No. It's only a small percentage of fans, compared to a larger percentage of athletes.

  • Click here to see full results on the brawl

    Which best describes the typical fan? (103,243 votes)
    49.3% Overshadowed by the bad apples, but pretty mellow. Rooting is just a release from life's real stresses.
    40.6% Takes the games a little too seriously but is generally harmless.
    10.1% A loudmouth jerk who thinks a ticket to a game gives them a right to act like it.

    What is going too far as a fan? (103,243 votes) 38.1% Heckling an athlete about his/her family or personal life
    23.9% Throwing objects on the field but not directly at athletes
    21.1% Throwing objects at athletes
    12.4% Heckling an athlete for his/her personal appearance
    3.8% Heckling an athlete for his/her on-court performance
    0.8% Booing or rooting against an athlete or team

  • Click here to see full results on the relationship between fans and players


    Voice of the Fan: Antonio Davis in Chicago
    The rule is that players can't enter the stands, so Antonio Davis should get suspended. Hopefully, David Stern recognizes the mitigating circumstances and the banality of the encounter, but 10-to-1 that Davis will gladly take any punishment for the sake of backing some yahoo off his wife.
    JT (Cleveland)

    Prime Voice
    "Antonio should be fined and suspended. He broke a league rule going into the stands, but I condone what he did. And regardless of who the fan's father is, he should be fined and perhaps arrested pending the outcome of a proper investigation. Not to mention he should be slapped extra hard for the trumped up threat of a million-dollar lawsuit."
    Tim (Moscow)

    He went to defend his wife, did not get physical when he got there and left peacefully when he got escorted back. All he did wrong was go into the stands in the first place, and who wouldn't do that if they felt their wife was in danger? No suspension.
    Mike (Cohoes)

    If you notice in the clip, Davis' arms never left his side. I mean, I understand why they had the rule, but it wasn't like he ran up and randomly started hitting the dude.
    Cara (New York)

    I think Antonio Davis should get suspended, but while he is on suspension, he should be allowed to go heckle this drunk's wife.
    John (Portland, Maine)

    No suspension. I understand why David Stern would, but there has to be common sense. Where was security though? Probably out digging up another airport with the mayor.
    Peter (Chicago)

    I understand why he went into the crowd. I would do the same thing. That said, there HAS to be a zero tolerance for players going into the stand for ANY reason.
    Reggie (Orlando)

    No exceptions. What if it caused another melee? Should the rules rely on the outcome of a situation, or should they be used to deter said situations?
    Hende (Ohio)

  • Click here for the Morning Quickie chat | Click here to sound off on the issue


    SportsNation's Show: Antonio Davis
    Ryan (Philly): You knew this question was going to be asked, but if you're David Stern, how do you handle the Antonio Davis situation?

    Chad Ford: Suspend him one game. There is a rule and Davis broke it, so there has to be a suspension. But this situation, beyond surface appearances, is nothing like the Artest one. I know Stern loves to send messages, but I hope he sends one that's understandable. Any suspension that's stricter (Chris Sheridan is saying eight games) doesn't make sense unless Stern feels that Davis is lying about why he went into the stands.

    Darrin (Chicago, Ill.): Why is there so much being made about Antonio Davis' actions last night? I know the NBA is trying to send a message, but as a man, I'd be concerned if he hadn't been concerned about his wife. He showed that his priorities are in order. Basketball or any job should come second to family.

    Chad Ford: I agree. Who wouldn't have done the same thing. What kind of behavior will Stern deter by punishing Davis severely. Does he really think NBA players, in the future, won't go into the stands to protect their family? C'mon. You've also got to take into account that Davis has a stellar reputation on and off the court, that he's a local guy who loves the fans in Chicago and most importantly, he didn't head into the stands out of control or with the intent of busting some heads. He was just trying to protect his wife and he did it in a nonviolent way. I actually believe that Davis did the right thing all the way around.

  • Click here for Ford's chat transcript


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