“The Pacers are the NBA’s version of the Bengals.” Those are not my words, but the comment of an Indianapolis Star reader. His lament was just one in a loud chorus of fan feedback in response to the most recent display of undisciplined off-court behavior by certain Pacers players. I’ve been quick to write about the Cincinnati Bengals’ arrest record. You can read those posts here and here. I do not want to be accused of inconsistency, so I’ll poke the Pacers with the Oxgoad.
For most of their history the Pacers have been a clean franchise. Rarely, if ever, did you read reports of players getting into fights, either with fellow patrons of a night club or with NBA fans at the arena. Those days are gone. Beginning in November 2004 with the “Brawl at Auburn Hills” this team has regularly been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. At the start of this season Stephen Jackson, who was recently traded, Jamaal Tinsley, and Marquis Daniels were involved in a nasty altercation at a strip club. Jackson actually fired a firearm into the air (Don’t you go out at night armed?), and the police found marijuana in Tinsley’s car. That case is still pending.Since that incident Jackson has beend traded, but Tinsley and Daniels have not yet learned from their previous mistake. The details are in the Star article that I linked, and there is no reason to regurgitate them here. Bob Kravitz also wrote an excellent piece on this current embarassament. I just want to say how disappointing it is to have a group of thugs represent the city. You might not have liked Reggie Miller’s constant complaining to the refs, but the guy was never arrested for firing his gun into the air. You never heard reports of dime-bags being found in his car. He was a good citizen. He did things for the community. Still does.
The current Pacers’ bad behavior is being contrasted with the exemplary behavior of the Colts. The Colts have proven that a team can be successful, even champions, without behaving like thugs. As Kravitz said in his article,
There’s a reason they’re near the bottom of the league in home attendance, and it’s not because Hoosiers don’t like basketball.
All I can say is: Go Colts!