Ron Artest should have apologized for ejection, one-game suspension
After his clothesline of Dallas guard Jose Barea earned him a one-game suspension, Lakers forward Ron Artest offered no semblance of an apology.
"No reaction," Artest said of missing Game 3 Friday in the Lakers' semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks and losing $57,476 in pay. "Ready to move forward."
He reiterated that phrase eight times in response to all sorts of questions, including whether he had remorse for smacking Barea with his forearm, whether he was frustrated and what are the issues currently plaguing the Lakers as they face a 0-2 deficit. This is, frankly, Artest dealing with issues he doesn't like to address, whether it's talking about an ejection, a poor shooting night or his comfort in the triangle offense.
It's incredibly inaccurate to question the validity of Artest winning a citizenship award last week for his help with mental health charities because it's well deserved. It's too misleading to categorize Artest's ejection with 25 seconds remaining in the Lakers' 93-81 Game 2 loss as the demons surrounding the Malice at the Palace seven years ago reemerging because he's changed since that episode. And it's a bit reactionary to think Artest's absence will prove a devastating effect, considering his 6.5 points per game average in five of 18 shots (27.8%) during this series.
The Lakers aren't sweating his suspension, with Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant both saying they weren't surprised with the ruling and Jackson only telling Artest he'd likely have to sit out a game. But with the Lakers dealing with a myriad of issues affecting their play, Artest could've at least expressed some regret for letting his team down. Instead, he gave nonsensical answers that only fuel his perception as an aloof and reckless player, even if that's far from the truth.
Surely, Artest doesn't want to make this story any bigger than it could be, but he's shown his best side when he's talked openly about topics either both good or bad. But don't tell that to Artest because he'll only offer one response: "Ready to move forward."
-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org.