Being Joe Cool without firepowerDo we support the right to arm bears, too?
Early this morning, October 6, four members of the Indiana Pacers were involved in what was described as "a verbal altercation ...that turned into a physical altercation".  This description was given by Sgt. Matthew Mount of the Indianapolis Police department. 

This calm description glosses over the facts.  Four Pacers players--Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels, and Jimmie Hunter--were inside a strip club, where an arguement began.  Even those of us who have never been inside a strip club know what goes on there.  Woman get naked to loud music while men watch, and pay money for looks and drinks.  Theoretically, they should be too busy checking out the women to talk, much less argue, about anything. 

But someone found a way.  The pacers left the club, we are told, and "other club patrons followed them outside".   During this time, we are told, Jackson was hit in the mouth and someone tried to run him over with their car.  Jackson then pulled out his 9mm pistol and fired a shot in the air.  The police arrived and restored a semblance of order, and Jackson, who was limping, later was treated at a hospital.  Police reported that Tinsley and Daniels both had licensed guns in their cars.

So, let me see if I have this straight.  Less than a week after the start of training camp, four players are staying out late at night--well past midnight--at a strip club, three of them armed and one carrying his weapon on him. 

Putting aside the question of why they're at a strip club to start with, or why they're out that late, consider the guys we're talking about.  Jackson, the gun toting Guard, is listed as 6'8" and 218 pounds.  Tinsley is 6'3" and 183 pounds.  Daniels is 6'6"and 200 pounds.  Hunter is 6'4" and 187 pounds.  They're all professional athletes.  Even if someone gets sufficiently blasted that they pick a fight with ANY of these guys--never mind ALL of them--you'd think some kind soul would point out the likelihood of said person geting squished like a bug on the window of a race car.   Two of these guys had guns in their cars.  God knows that anyone else was carrying.

Yet, for some reason, Jackson felt the need to pack a firearm.  How sad he was proven right.  We don't yet know who "started" it, and it doesn't matter.  Did no one learn from what happened LAST summer in Chicago?  Or did they think that Paul Pierce was stabbed by accident a few seasons back?

You'd think that grown men would not need to be told to be home at a reasonable hour.  That perhaps going to a strip club, and mixing booze and guns is a bad idea.  I don't generally object to the guys packing heat for personal protection.  But I have a SERIOUS problem when they take said weapon into a place where they will be drinking.  Finally, for the love of Linus and Lucy, these guys, between them, make enough to request a private room, or something.  Rick Carlisle and Larry Bird might not be fond of the idea, but I bet they much prefer a private strip joint to last night's antics.

Nobody behaved responsibly.  Not the players, and not the other "club patrons".  Do we really HAVE to set a curfew, like they were back in high school or college?  Does Rick Carlisle HAVE to drive around the city doing bed checks?  How much of this idiocy is prevalent among other teams--including, unfortunately, the Celtics?

If you need to go somewhere armed, DON'T GO.  Are these guys REALLY that stupid?  I know next to nothing about the Pacers players personal lives.  There may be wives or girlfriends reading about these guys in the paper...or hearing about it from friends and co-workers.   Their families must be thrilled to hear the comments too.  If you want to go to a strip club, there have to be places that cater to a less violent crowd.   If you want to see a woman get naked, rent a video, watch cable tv, bribe your wife/girlfriend, and make it a night to remember.

Chrales Barkley once publicly declaimed, "I am NOT a role model".  Fair enough.  But is it too much to ask a grown man to ACT like a grown man?  To go places where you don't have to pull a weapon and fire it after being hit by a car during an arguement?  And don't try the "he only fired a warning shot in the air" with me.  People have been injured and/or killed by such shots. When you draw a weapon, you are prepared to use it.  And nobody except Steve McGarrett shoots to wound.  

We were lucky, all of us.  Jackson didn't get seriously hurt or killed.  He didn't shoot anybody.  Everyone walked away, embarrassed but alive.  The guy with the car will probably face charges, but since the odds were he was drunk at the time, he'll probably get a relatively light sentence.  But we're not mourning the loss of a player, or players.

If you need protection, get a bodyguard, and don't do stupid things like wander into a place where fights break out.  Turn the gun into the police and relieve yourself of wondering what you'd do if you ever used it on anyone.

We've all seen some horrific stories in the news lately.  Is it too much to ask we not deliberately add to the stupidity and misery?  Maybe professional atheletes aren't role models...but would it really kill them to TRY?