Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Punch Is A Punch

What am I missing?

Everyone loves a good hockey fight. It doesn't matter if your a hockey aficionado or a puck and stick virgin, when people start beating on each other, America stops and watches. MMA fights, middle school recess scuffles, Jerry Springer love triangles, you name it, if it's got faces gets kicked in we eat it up dig it and we dig it hard.

I mean say what you want about hockey, this is just fun to watch.

Announcers love it, fans love it, toothless Canadian players love it.

And who doesn't love a good baseball beat down? Hard slide, hit by a pitch, boredom, baseball fights have a lot of causes and go a long way to spicing up rivalry games and a brutally long season.

Yes, fights are seemingly all good in sports. That is, unless it's the NBA.
Remeber the Nuggets-Knicks fight? Suspensions for everyone and condemnation by all.

And it wasn't even a fight so much as it was a slap and tickle

The announcers didn't seem to dig it very much.

Then there was the WNBA brawl from last season.
Now, maybe the NBA is trying to keep a clean image after the Artest situation

You never want your players fighting your fans. Any league would suspend their players until the cows come home right? No league would let player-fan fights slide...

Do any of you even remeber this happening? I sure don't. Tie Domi wasn't publicly crucified that's for sure. Why is that?

Fan abuse is, I guess, cool in the almost all white NHL, but demonized in the primarily black NBA.

What I'm driving at is brawling is celebrated in most baseball and especially hockey. Prolific fighters are given names like "enforcer". In the NBA, if one punch is thrown, the player becomes a "thug" in the eyes of the sporting world. Carmelo? A thug? Did you see the fight? Go with your guy instinct on this next question. Do you think Artest is a thug? If so, why? Because he punched a fan who dumped beer on him? Wouldn't you do the same if someone did that to you?
Sports brawls are fun, but they stop being fun when you demonize players because of their race. The NBA wouldn't suspend players like 'Melo for 15 games (the sixth longest in NBA history) over a slap if they didn't think they had to for PR reasons. Why would the NBA have a bad image that needed protecting? Could it be that it's considered a league full of gang bangers by the weak minded and dim witted that make up a scarily heavy portion of the American population?

Maybe it's just me, but the double standard in public perception of sports brawls reaks of racism.



Mogen_david said...

Laraque, Brashear...

Stephen Redeker said...

Wrong....Basketball just doesn't have enough white players to see them throwing punches at each other. Also, brawls you see in baseball or hockey usually have something to do with teammates sticking up for each other (usually after a big hit in hockey or a beanball in baseball). This doesn't happen much in basketball; a hard foul might get a retalitory punch or two from the injured player but that's it. Race isn't that much of an issue. The only reason it looks like race is an issue is because basketball has mostly blacks and hockey has mostly whites. Don't you think white hockey players are considered thugs when they rack up the penalty minutes? They sure are. The (USA) sports media just doesn't care much about hockey. Baseball bench clearing brawls happen because of a bean ball or a spiked hard slide, and it happens every season so it's somewhat accepted. Baseball is a mixed sport and fights happen with both races. Ask McSorley if he thinks whites are accepted for being goons and blacks are criticized for throwing punches.

Hand of Godard said...

"Thug" isn't the word that came to mind when Carmelo threw a "punch"... I think "pussy" was the first word that came to mind. He punched like a girl then ran away.
I'm fine with players fighting fans if the fans are going to be dumping pop, beer, whatever on the player, so I think Artest was within his rights.
Fact is, hockey's fighters actually have a code and, almost always, mutual respect. Other than boxing, I can't imagine another sport where a fighter would say "Good Luck, man" to his opponent before a fight the way Laraque did to Ivanans. Other than boxing and hockey, I've never seen someone pat their opponent on the back after getting their ass kicked. In hockey, you'll see two players take their helmets off before a fight so that their opponent doesn't break their knuckles on a helmet. Fighting serves a purpose in hockey, and to a lesser extent, can serve a purpose in baseball. I fail to see a purpose for it in basketball.
Way to play the race card, though. That was pretty pathetic.

Anonymous said...

correlation does not equal causation. The NBA is populated with primarily black players and fights are bad. The NHL is populated with mostly white players and fighting is accepted. why? it has nothing to do with the skin color of the athletes involved. it is a cultural difference with the fans and players. NBA players align themself with todays hip-hop culture, which unfortunately is perceived as "thuggish". noone actually knows what hockey players do off the ice. 90% of americans dont even know what they do ON the ice.

for example: if dirk nowitski started hanging around with eminem and fighting on the court, would there be similar outrage to the 'melo incident? without a doubt.

if a black hockey started dealing cocaine and was literally run out of the continent, would there be outrage? no. because it already happened... remember ray emery? in the nhl his skin color did not matter but his actions did. hes gone, no reason to dwell on the subject, right?

there you go. dont confuse race with culture.

Harrison said...

I'll back you up on this one 100%. I actually wrote a blog post about the double standard of fighting in sport a couple years back. Mine was a little more polemic than yours, which may be why you got some attention and I just got people calling me a wackjob. But the article is here: http://harrisonexists.blogspot.com/2007/03/artifacts-of-racism-archeaology-of.html

Robert said...

It has nothing to do with race. It has to to with the perception of each sport. This perception has been built because, as stated earlier, NBA players associate themselves with the hiphop genre of music. This music relies on street cred and a thugish demenour to sell records.

Then lets not forget the fact that basketball players are in and out of the news for various criminal offenses due to gun possession, drug charges, domestic disturbance etc.

When was the last time you heard a hockey player being arrested? I will tell you, last summer the Stall brothers Eric and Jordan were arrested for partying to hard at a wedding or bacholer party. Tough stuff.

Hockey players keep their personal lives out of the news, are soft spoken (except Avery) and when interved, are quit boring. They have a just happy to be here attitude.

Basketball players on the other show a totally different attitude. Almost like they are still trying to prove they belong there. That they deserve what they have. Almost to the point of being brash.

Also, i am a firm beleiver that if a fan in any sport runs out onto the playing surface, they are fair game. The player should not feel helpless or threatened.

In the Domi video that guy climbed the glass to get to Domi, in the other hockey video the guy on on the ice. Artest went into the stands to get to the fan. Big difference. I have not seen the other NBA fight so I can't comment about that one.

This is being boiled to racism, not because it is, but because you need an excuse and something or someone to blame except the players for their suspensions.

Groovemaniac said...

Not to be obvious but when was the last time basketball was considered a full-contact sport? Thats what hockey is, hence why fighting, in certain circumstances, is allowed.

As far as your point that white players aren't labeled as goons in hockey and instead labled as "enforcers"... has everyone already forgotten Todd Bertuzzi and Chris Simon?

Your point is a bucket full of holes bud. Nice try though.

Doogie2K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doogie2K said...

Laraque, Brashear...

Jarome Iginla is revered in these parts for being a skilled player who can fight. And again, black. It's the culture, not the colour.

Now, if you want a hockey player who went into the stands, meet Terry O'Reilly, who played for the Boston Bruins in the '70s. Take it away, YouTube. I think he only got eight games for that; dunno about Mike Milbury, the guy who beat a Rangers fan with his own shoe, though.

Copcheck said...

Garbage article IMO with the intent of stirring up a non-existant controvery.

The fact is the NBA is much more popular and recieves much more coverage and the fact the the majority of players are black is irrelevant.

The fact that fighting has been accpeted in hockey, well, since it's beginnings is common place.

Bogus article.

Harrison said...

"Racism? That's ridiculous," said a bunch of white guys.

Naming some black guys that play hockey does not invalidate the argument, geniuses.

Sean is right. There is an unease about fighting in basketball because the majority of these players come from low-income areas and are coloured; the NBA brass and white-collar investors don't trust them to be civil, so, in the great tradition of whites, they take up the difficult task of civilizing others.

Hockey, on the other hand, is a brutal sport, yes, but primarily for rich, white kids. So no worries. We trust them to know when enough is enough.

Serena and Chuck said...

You're right, Sean. I actually can't read Puck Daddy comments because of it. Basketball players are "savages" and hockey players are saints over there.

The comments here remind me of a quote: "[W]ell, if there was a race card, it would be pretty worthless. Every accusation of racism leads to an accusation of playing the race card, which always seems to trump the original charge." -Matthen

Sorry, Sean, but the denial card always plays higher than the actual issue. Getting those at the top tiers of the N. American social hiearchy (who don't experience racism) to admit that racism exists is a near impossibility.

brandnewme-x22: "If a black hockey started dealing cocaine and was literally run out of the continent, would there be outrage? no. because it already happened... remember ray emery"
I love how you used made up negative rumors about a black player to illustrate that black players are treated equally.

How is basketball as a sport aligned with hip-hop? The only connection I see between the two are the black people. And if individual basketball players are actually being judged on what form of legal and corporate run entertainment they like most then my God people are much stupider than I thought.

Hand of Godard said...

Was fighting a long established tradition in basketball when it was dominated by white guys?
Did fighting just become unacceptable in basketball when it started getting dominated by blacks?
Hockey is a sport that is steeped in tradition and fighting is one of those traditions.
This isn't a black/white issue, it's an issue of two different sports.

uisjmc morgan said...

Is baseball a contact sport? I would argue that basketball is more of a contact sport than baseball and there is way more fighting in baseball.
The guy who says listening to hip hop makes any kind of difference is out of their mind. You don't think white dudes listen to rap? You don't think black baseball players like rap?
Right now everyone is defending hockey and that wasn't my intention. No sport jumps on players like the NBA, where they have the weakest fights. Period.
Why is it always white dudes saying "way to play the race card!" like race is somehow not a legit factor in todays society. Like it couldn't be because of race! In AMERICA? NEVER!
I'm not against fighting. I'm pro fighting. My issue is with the double standard. What I'm saying is let EVERYONE fight.
And to the person who said that baseball and hockey fights are some how earned while basketball fights aren't needs to wake up and smell their own bullshit. How is a hard foul not a big deal but a hard check or bean ball worthy of a beat down?
Also, lets face it Stephen Redeker, the only time a hockey player gets called a thug is when they high stick and almost kill someone.
Steve Nash causes a number of fights, but he's a short Canadian cat so no one cares.
Like a lot of things in this country, it's about race.

Hand of Godard said...

I'm only focusing on hockey vs. basketball because it's what I know. To say that fighting is allowed in hockey and not basketball because most hockey players are white is to look no farther than skin color. Fighting has always been a part of hockey, where fighting has never had a place in basketball. If you want to say that someone is racist because they call a basketball player a thug then fine, I'll buy that. But if you're trying to say that fighting isn't tolerated in basketball because most of the players are black I definitely have to strongly disagree.

Pocket said...

All I know is that the Package is racist. I heard they're working on him with some sensitivity training but I'm not hopeful that he'll come around. It's hard to change someone's mentality.

hockeyfan said...

hockey is not a racist sport it just that blacks suck at hockey. when we fight it is to stand up for our team mates and to get the edge.

uisjmc morgan said...

I never said hockey was racist moron I said that the NBA rules where. My point was never to say that hockey was wrong, it was to say the NBA was. Read the article before posting.

uisjmc morgan said...

Also, to say that "blacks suck at hockey" makes you sound like a brain-dead redneck. Hockey is not a big sport amongst young black Americans. Hockey is an expensive sport to play and many children in that demographic can't afford it. Before pretending that white people have some sort of ethnic superiority in hockey "hockeyfan", maybe you should really be bragging about how much money your mommy and daddy where willing to throw at your young athletic desires.