Bob Kravitz, sports columnist for the Indianapolis Star, made and astute observation this week, one that I noticed immediately. But the problem lies with the fact that I do not write columns for a living, he does. Because of this, he has the time to think of these things and implement his ideas, long before I do. So, as is the case in these kinds of matters, he had time to write about it it long before me.
Here is the gist of the matter:
Two of the Pacers that were involved in a bar fight a short while ago, were charged Wednesday.
Two Indiana Pacers made the short trip from Conseco Fieldhouse to jail early today after the they were indicted Wednesday in connection with a bar fight earlier this month.
Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels surrendered at the Arrestee Processing Center shortly after midnight. Earlier, Tinsley's attorney, James Voyles, had said the players would be in Marion Superior Court this morning.
This happened despite the fact that the club management did not push for charges.
A Westside bar manager did not push for criminal charges against two Indiana Pacers players who were indicted for allegedly striking him, an attorney for the bar said Thursday.
The Feb. 6 brawl at 8 Seconds Saloon resulted in a grand jury indictment Wednesday against Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels on misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct charges.
Tinsley, 28, also faces two counts of intimidation -- one a Class D felony, the other a misdemeanor -- for allegedly threatening bar staff members.
The other significant sports story this week involved Indianapolis Colts running back Dominic Rhodes and his arrest for DUI.
With the luster of a starring role in the Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl victory this month just behind and the prospect of a lucrative free agent contract ahead, running back Dominic Rhodes' early morning arrest Tuesday on a charge of driving while intoxicated couldn't have come at a much more awkward time for him or his team.
Rhodes was released with no bail after a brief Tuesday afternoon hearing.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Rhodes' blood-alcohol level tested at 0.09 percent, and declined further comment. The Indiana legal limit is 0.08.
So here we have it, one city with two sport teams, with two different situations that both involve the Arrestee Processing Center. But if we look at the responses from the managements of the two different teams, we see two very different approaches.
From the same article on Rhodes arrest, we see Colts President Bill Polian's statement:
"We are very troubled by Dominic Rhodes' arrest for DUI," Colts president Bill Polian said in a statement released by the club. "In accordance with state law and NFL policy, we will have no further comment until the case has been dealt with by the justice system.
Note the first part of that statement and compare it with Tony Dungy's remarks made, at the NFL Combine:
Speaking this afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome, Dungy said he was "very, very disappointed'' with Rhodes' arrest earlier this week on two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence.
"One of the things I said I was so proud of is we went through the Super Bowl time, where there's usually some type of negative story, and there was nothing negative that came from either team,'' Dungy said. "We talk about it all the time as a team, just decision-making. You make one poor decision and it reflects on everybody. It reflects on the whole National Football League.
"It's disappointing. How that's going to impact what we do, we'll have to see down the road. But Dom knows that it's something I'm very disappointed in. But we'll sit down and go through everything and try to sort it out and try to be as supportive as we can.''
And Polian adds further:
"Is it an issue? Absolutely,'' Colts president Bill Polian said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome. "Must it be dealt with? I would weigh in on the side that it should.''
Now let's contrast this scene, with the press release from the Pacers. From the Kravitz piece comes:
"Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels have steadfastly insisted that they are innocent and did not engage in any unlawful or improper behavior on the night in question . . .''
"A grand jury has only decided that a trial is needed to determine the facts. In our system of justice, grand juries do not find anyone guilty of anything. This process is very different from a trial, in which the proceedings are under the supervision of a judge who instructs the jury that an indictment is not evidence of anything . . ."
See the difference?
Not until the Kravitz column on Thursday did Pacers President Larry Bird speak publicly about the incident:
"I've always been able to let things flow off me, but this is Indiana and this is the Indiana Pacers," Bird said Friday in an interview with The Indianapolis Star. "It means a lot to me. When something happens to them I get very depressed and very down."
I didn't realize this was about Larry's feelings. I thought it was about the fans that pay the bills. I thought it was about the man that has to sign the checks. But what the heck, let's read on:
"We can't guarantee 100 percent nothing else is going to happen, but we can't have anything happen," Bird said.
He could if he'd get rid of the thugs. But alas, it's probably too late. Who would want them? He should have shipped them out after the strip joint incident, last October. But you know Lenient Larry, always having some "pie-in-the-sky belief system", for people that end up burning him in the end. (SEE: Ron Artest)
"Our fan base wants this cleaned up, and they want to see the type of team they want to see every night. I know what they want; it's up to us to do it. And I think we can do it."
Hello? Note to Larry: You bet we want it cleaned up. And I am not spending one more damned dime on the Pacers, until it is. But, that's not going to happen as long as you play the "powerless to do anything about it" card. So, you think you can do it? Great. I don't think you can and I think it's time for you, Coach Carlisle, and Donnie Walsh to go. Because all of you (and I mean all) have lost control of this team.
But maybe the fans think this is too big of a job for Larry Legend. I know this former fan does. And while I am at it, it seems the culture of the NBA is out of control. Anyone that followed the aftermath of the All-Star Game in Las Vegas last weekend, knows that the culture is eroding. With that point, there comes a thought that maybe David Stern should go too. Because from where I sit, it looks like he has lost control of the lion's share of the entire league.
You be the judge, here.
Maybe we can do something about it (but then again, maybe not)? Line that up with the Colts' outlook of: It's disappointing and something needs to be done about it. I doubt many principled people would fail to the see the stark differences in the two approaches, in both of these incidents.
The bottom line is simple. If the NBA does not regain their credibility, their losses could be enormous and could go the way of baseball, a good while back, when popularity declined sharply after the last strike. The NFL looks like it is learning from the NBA and wanting to take a harder look at this, before it gets out of control. In that case it becomes a prime example of an old favorite adage of mine:
No one is ever completely worthless. At the very least, they can serve as bad examples.