Metta World Peace: James Harden Should Pursue Legal Action for Elbow

Sammy Sucu@oblivion08Senior Analyst IApril 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after being ejected for hitting James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The  Lakers won 114-106 in double overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Even though Metta World Peace publicly apologized on Twitter about the elbow he delivered to the back of James Harden's neck, it was not enough. Neither was the minuscule seven-game suspension that was given to him. What Harden should do is lawyer up and file a tort claim against MWP because this is a strong case of a battery. 

A battery is defined as the intentional causing of offensive contact to the person of another without consent.

To see whether or not Harden has a good case, we need to break down the definition of a battery and see if what MWP did was in fact a battery.

Intentional Causing 

This may be the only element in the definition of a battery that is up for debate. MWP says that the contact was not intentional, but let's be honest, the way he cocked his arm back should be enough to prove his intent. 

Luckily, Harden has the video in slow motion to prove that MWP's facial expression and arm movement prove that he has a strong case for proving intentional causing.

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Offensive Contact

An elbow to the back of the head is as close to the exact definition of offensive contact. This was by no way shape or form not offensive. MWP wanted to celebrate his dunk and once he celebrated, Harden started to jaw at him. Instead of jawing back, MWP hit Harden in the back of the neck. 

As soon as MWP connected to the back of Harden's neck, offensive contact was established. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder lies on the floor after being elbowed by Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers  at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


If this were football, hockey, rugby, boxing or even wrestling, there would be no case because both players would automatically consent to this type of play. However, in basketball, no athlete consents to allowing another person to elbow them in the back of their head. 

Something another player would consent to would be a hard foul like pushing another player down, or an accidental poke to the eye or slap of the face when a player is trying to steal the ball away. A player especially does not consent to any violence when the ball is out of bounds and a player is celebrating their recent dunk. 

Basketball is a contact sport, and quite possibly the only sport that has the least amount of consent to violence. 

The only argument that MWP can have against a case of battery is the fact that he did not actually want to nail Harden in the back of the neck. He could say that he was trying to elbow him, but he was not trying to give a concussion. 

In contrast, Harden could claim that throwing an elbow while your back is turned to a player could result in big-time harm. Harden's party will claim that one would reasonably expect to cause a large amount of harm to another player once an elbow is thrown, especially the way MWP threw it. 

Considering this is the NBA and it is one of the most popular organizations in America, this case may not happen because it will make the league look bad. If you are Harden, you might not want to do it because it will make you look like a weakling in front of your peers.

However, MWP needs to learn that this type of violence will not be tolerated anymore. The small suspensions will not do anything for deterrence. MWP will continue to act like this as long as he is employed in the NBA. Maybe a lawsuit might teach MWP a lesson because Harden clearly has a case here for battery. 

MWP will not get any jail time for this, but Harden will receive a nice settlement. All the bad PR that MWP will get from this may actually teach him a lesson. You would think "Malice in the Palace" would have got to him, but it clearly did not. 

Hopefully, Harden does not continue to feel concussion like symptoms during the playoffs. It does not matter what team you are a fan for, if you are a human being with a soul, you should not be proud of this type of violence occurring in any sport. 

With that being said, a potential matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers is going to be a legendary one. 

Sammy Sucu is a Featured Columnist for the WWE. Sammy also writes for the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter.

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