Let's Give Ron Artest the Benefit of the Doubt

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 7, 2009

As the Lakers piled on points in an effort to cement their win, a inadvertent elbow was thrown by Kobe Bryant underneath the basket that connected with Ron Artest's throat.

The refs called an offensive foul and Artest's reaction was to storm towards the refs and explain his side and then charge toward Kobe and let him know what you can and can't do to an individual on the basketball court.

The refs broke up the confrontation and declared that Artest should be thrown out of the game though he threw no punches and or any elbows like Kobe's teammate Derek Fisher did on Ron's teammate Luis Scola.

Fisher's elbow drew blood on the rim of Scola's lip, Fisher was ejected and Scola calmed down within moments.

So excuse Ron Artest if he doesn't behave or carry himself as does the Argentinean did.

Artest was clearly frustrated from his team's lack of support, including Yao only contributing 12 points and Shane Battier getting annihilated by Bryant.

This is not the old Ron-Ron that we've grown strangely infatuated with. Had it been I'd be willing to bet Kobe would have been laid out on the court crumbled in a heap as chaos engulfed the Staples Center.

Give kudos the man who grew up on the tough streets of New York and who had enough restraint to withstand Kobe's illegal (legal) attack, and the beating of his teammate.

The last time Artest was asked to step in for a teammate, the Palace of Auburn Hills was turned into a free-for-all and Ron was presented with a suspension for the remainder of the year, robbing him of a fair portion of his "early years."

All Artest was trying to do was to police the game and put his foot down on the officiating when the guys with the whistles wouldn't.

Instead the refs' acted on sheer stereotype and deliberated on his past and because of Artest's history even though Ron-Ron hasn't one single on the court or off the court incident this season and garnered no suspensions.

In fact while searching through the Getty images database, I couldn't find a single photo of Ron Artest pointing a finger, screaming, or appearing as if he was ready to come to blows.

The image above came from a different website.

Maybe America needs to get used to Artest. After all this his first time being viewed on a National audience since his infamous actions in the Pacers-Pistons brawl; however America also needs to learn to give Artest credit for not reverting back to those ways.

Before his ejection he scored 26 points and single-handedly carried the Rockets on his back almost into a 2-0 lead.

Artest's actions were completely justified but yet other people compounded them with the thoughts of the past.

I give much credit to Ron Artest. Artest, you did the right thing.

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