Despite his troubled history, I have always defended the Kings’ decision to bring Ron Artest to Sacramento. I never blamed him for the infamous brawl two years ago. The trigger for that incident - a fan who threw debris on a player on the court (the player, by the way, was Artest) - always incensed me. Basketball players are not performing monkeys.
Until recently, Artest’s on court behavior in Sacramento has been exemplary. So, I felt vindicated. But news earlier this year that he had neglected his dogs hinted that something was not quite right. The happy façade collapsed completely Monday when his arrest became public. I was deeply disappointed and saddened.
But I’m not quite ready to give up on him. I will wait for the facts to emerge. From the information that has tumbled out so far, none of the adults involved in the events appear blameless. It looks like all the grownups need anger management counseling.
I’m still hoping some neutral arbiter will say “it ain’t so” - that Artest did not hit his wife. Because if he did, it won’t matter that he plays brilliant defense. As much as we love our Kings, Sacramento fans, myself included, don’t want to cheer for a player who hits women.
Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.