I really wanted to believe Ron Artest. When I sat down with him for an ESPN feature last fall, I wanted to believe that he’d refocused his combustibility on basketball and his family – and his music. He put on a pretty good show in Champaign, Ill. And backstage he was chilled, gregarious and accommodating as our crew shot his every move.
Maybe it was too much to ask.
On Monday, Artest was arrested at his five-acre estate on suspicion of domestic violence and using force or violence to prevent his victim from reporting a crime after he allegedly slapping a woman at his home in suburban Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee confirmed that the victim was Artest’s wife, Kimsha.
He was released after posting a $50,000 bond. Arraignment is March 22.
The Kings’ next game is Thursday – against the Pacers. Yet another reminder that God has a sense of humor. The team suspended him indefinitely, pending further details.
On Tuesday, a Placar County Sherriff’s report revealed some details: “Victim sustained visible trauma after being repeatedly grabbed by Artest and pushed to the floor,” it read. “Artest then slapped victim’s face (and) by use of force prevented victim from leaving.”
There is never an excuse to hit a woman. If Artest is charged, it will be difficult for the Kings – or any NBA team – to keep him, even in our innocent-until-guilty culture. If he’s found guilty, the NBA could void his contract.
Let me repeat: There is never an excuse to hit a woman.
A Sacramento police spokesman said five 911 calls had been placed from Artest’s house since Aug. 29.
When police arrived, Artest was sitting calmly outside his home. There was a three-year-old girl inside – presumably, one of his three children. No excuse.
Husband and Wife, Wife and Son, during happier times…