Posted on November 24, 2004

Black Leader: Ban NBA Fighters For Life, Nov. 23

A black advocate for the traditional family says the three Indiana Pacers basketball players who were suspended for multiple games for fighting with fans in Detroit should be banned from the NBA for good.

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and head of BOND, or the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, also said in a statement that the three players should have “criminal charges filed against them.”

Besides Pacer Ron Artest, who is banned from the game for the rest of the season, Peterson mentions Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal. Six other players on both the Pacers and Detroit Pistons also were suspended, but for less time.

“Artest is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 247 pounds — he could have killed someone,” Peterson said. “There was no excuse to justify his behavior. He and his teammates behaved like thugs, not professional athletes. The NBA has lowered their standards for money and entertainment value; we’re now witnessing the results. Unless the league raises their standards, fans can expect things to get worse.”

Peterson says NBA players are coddled, and the fact many grow up fatherless contributes to their problems.

Said Peterson: “Most come from single parent households without fathers. As a result, they’re angry and have no respect for themselves or anyone else. They need serious counseling to help them overcome their anger.”

NBA rap sheets

In the book “Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA’s Culture of Rape, Violence and Crime,” author Jeff Benedict writes of the myriad problems basketball players have both on and off the court.

According to his research, 40 percent of U.S-born NBA players have had formal criminal complaints filed against them for serious crimes. The book documents dozens of incidents involving drug use, complaints of sexual assault or rape made against NBA players by women, assaults and incidents with players carrying guns.

Benedict also found that 21 percent of the NFL players had been involved in serious crimes.