There Is No Defense To Being A Part Of The Auburn Hills Brawl

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 17, 2006

USA BasketballSAN ANTONIO — “Someone started trouble and I ended it,” Ron Artest told about 50 children Wednesday at a panel on black empowerment at the Judge Mathis Community Center.

“I would always encourage you to protect yourself but in certain situations, if you can avoid them, avoid them.”

Hmm. Let me contemplate this for a moment.

Ron Artest is doing community service in Detroit and instead of him owning up to his own culpability in a brawl that happened on December 16, 2004 in the Motor City, he tells fifty impressionable kids that you need to protect yourself at all times.

Oh and wait he did this at Judge Greg Mathis’ Community Center? Is he for real? Wait a minute is Judge Mathis for real? Surely a TV judge can talk some sense into this guy’s skull?

I don’t know why I’m acting surprised by his actions. Artest isn’t sorry for anything he does in life. He isn’t sorry that his own actions set forth a firestorm that is still reverberating to this day.

For Artest, he thinks he didn’t do anything wrong but when it comes to realizing that he is an example that many young kids seem to pick up on, he is as clueless as his statement is to those fifty kids.

Artest isn’t worried about his future or whatever past he has lain down. To him, this is just something he has to do. Community service is just his punishment and he doesn’t truly care about what he says or does during that time. And why should any of us be surprised that he simply is being Ron Artest even now.


If there’s one thing I remember about Washington, D.C., it is that you better not have an unlicensed weapon. Too bad nobody told Lonnie Baxter and his partner that the other night.

Reports say that Baxter, 27, fired a handgun just mere blocks away from the White House. He is now in custody and is facing some serous charges.

It is unknown why the former Maryland Terrapin player fired the weapon and I’m quite sure that since the Secret Service were called in, we may not be seeing Mr. Baxter any time soon.

News flash for anyone not paying attention to world affairs these days. We are still at war and any gunplay, not matter how ‘innocent’ it may seem will get you arrested; especially near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

TAKING THE BIG BALD GUY TO TASK Okay I’ve had about 24 hours or so to digest what I heard on ESPN this Monday Night and I have to ask Tony Kornheiser one question. Tony, do you really want to do this? I have never seen somebody so uptight and so convoluted as Kornheiser.

It’s like he’s living the nightmare of that CBS sitcom that was loosely based on him and it starred Jason Alexander and Malcom Jamal Warner.

Now that was bad television but Kornheiser isn’t a bad guy on the boob tube. So I’m wondering, maybe he’s worried about flaming out like Dennis Miller?

Television isn’t easy and I’m definitely not one to start chastising a columnist from the Post. It’s easier to poke fun at Michael Wilbon because I think he could take the joke. But in all seriousness, Tony will you please relax and enjoy the stint?

Mike Tirico isn’t that bad of a guy and Joe Thiesman is your football analyst. All you need to do is to relate the game to the ‘rest of us’ who aren’t in the sports world. But then again maybe it’s the three-man tandem that is throwing off his rhythm.

Naw, I doubt that could be the case. He has no rhythm except when he’s penning a piece about how his dog keeps knocking over the trash can. Loosen up TK. Some of us only dream of getting to that chair you are now sitting in and you’re in it.

By the way, if you are looking for someone to chastise Wilbon while you’re gone, give me a shout. I’m sure I can argue against him without rehearsal.

CAN’T BACK USA BASKETBALL BECAUSE SYSTEM IS FLAWED Gave an interesting point of view the other morning to the local sports show. I told the hosts that I simply cannot back Team USA at the World Championships because I think the system is very flawed.

Here’s my reasoning for such a notion. Jerry Colangelo and company cut Bruce Bowen to make the twelve-man roster that will be running in Japan this weekend and it is that team that will have to win gold or silver in order for this country to even have a berth into the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

I tried my best to explain to both hosts that unless Team USA is going to stick with these twelve players, why back them? If this particular team wins in Japan, what’s the chance of all twelve of them being together in two years?

Relatively slim and none if USA Basketball wants to still have this “open” invitation idea floating for other NBA players.

With this organization still making this team an ‘all-star team’ of the best NBA players, you are systematically destroying the notion that you want chemistry amongst your Olympian hopefuls.

It’s still going to be the old excuse of “Well if Kobe wants to play in China, we’ll put him on the team and we’ll bump Shane Battier”. And that, folks, is why this system is flawed and we will never regain any type of respect amongst the international basketball community.

Instead of Colangelo and the brain trust telling those who turned down the invitations that they aren’t welcome, they would rather kiss their collective asses because this is still about marketing.

Yes I said the “M” word. USA Basketball is still trying to ram international basketball down this country’s throat and the best way for anyone to swallow that bitter pill is to put NBA players on the roster and call it the “Dream Team”.

Well whether the two local hosts got my point or not isn’t the issue here. But if you really want to win in international competition, you have literally follow what other countries are doing.

So here’s my solution to what is really a simple problem to fix. First of all, screw the marketing angle of trying to market marquee players down our throats. Secondly, what Colangelo and USA basketball need to do is to find him fourteen hungry lions that want to represent this country in international play.

That means find four of the hungriest NBDL players, find you four of the hungriest CBA players, find you four of the non-drafted college players from the last two drafts and find you this country top four FIBA players who have played overseas for the past two years.

You also set an age limit so that this team does not get ‘old’ during it’s run. You then find yourself a coach and four assistants who are hungry and want to win on the international level.

That means finding a coach who has coached on the professional level of the CBA, NBDL or even the NBA and will be committed to the next two Olympics.

The next thing is for USA Basketball to find out if FIBA will allow you to put a team made up of Americans in their league.

You want to basically ‘barn storm’ Europe, playing against the best FIBA teams during their season and enter into their FIBA championship tourneys.

Finally, if everything is a go, you find yourself a corporate sponsor of three, give the players a salary of $100,000 each, you make sure that all lodging and expenses are handled through your sponsors and you tell this team to kick ass in Europe.

What is the end result? A Team USA squad that is so acclimated to international play and committed to the Olympic task of winning gold that they are the best we have at this type of competition and they are also showcasing their skills to the world that American ball players can play international ball.

Now what does that do over here? Well this is when the marketing geniuses on Madison Avenue come up with these great campaigns that shows this country that we have American ball players over seas doing what we do best; win.

Nothing against the NBA product but when it comes to specializing for a purpose, that is what this team would be built for. Now back to reality for a moment. The reason why this may never happen is because it is just too damn simple minded.

This country is so brainwashed into thinking that because a basketball player is one of the elite members of the NBA that he is the best basketball player in the world. News flash America, check the records of Team USA during the 2002 World Championships and the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Supposedly those were supposed to be some of the best ball players in the league and what happened? They got their egos and butts handed to them in international play.

So if someone asks me why I can’t support Team USA in this tournament, it has nothing to do with the players but it has everything to do with the cow manure that USA Basketball is still trying to feed us. It’s the same stuff, just a different day and time of the feeding cycle.


Finally this just came across my e-mail and I’m still shaking my head. It seems that Maurice Clarett was bank rolled by an Israeli mob enforcer.

Here’s what the message said: “Maurice Clarett was reportedly bankrolled by an alleged Israeli mob enforcer after leaving Ohio State in the late summer of 2004.

Clarett was introduced by a friend to Hai Waknine, a convicted felon who prosecutors believe is a member of an Israeli crime organization called The Jerusalem Group.

Waknine provided Clarett with cash, a BMW, bodyguards, and beachfront lodging in Malibu, all the while screening prospective agents and personal trainers as the former Ohio Sate standout prepared for the 2005 NFL draft. I t is believed that money was at one point an issue between the two, sources saying that Waknine was planning to take 60 percent of Clarett’s rookie earnings, but it is unclear whether their relationship played a part in Clarett’s arrest on gun charges last week.” Now this was to be on ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Thursday, August 17th, and if it is I’m sure my friends in Bristol will get me a transcript of it but can you just now see why things have gone from bad to worse for anyone trying to back this young man?

If any of this is true then everyone owes the NFL an apology for not having to deal with him. Imagine the chaos that could have ensued with Clarett being in the league and he had this type of affiliation.

Point shaving and all types of illegal betting, beyond what is normally done now, could have happened because the mob just won’t let you ‘walk away’ after they have helped you. Just a scary scenario that I’m glad didn’t happen.