Maybe it's time we all just admit it. We like violence in sports.
Or maybe the more accurate truth is we just don't hate it enough.
You can put basketball's Metta World Peace, hockey's Raffi Torres, football's Bountygate scandal or any number of recent well-publicized athletic hostilities in a bucket and pull them out like lottery balls, then watch the conflicting signals and mixed emotions come out. When it comes to our appetites for — and our repugnance against — violence on America's playing fields, we can't make up our minds about who we are and what we truly feel.
Thunderous standing ovations and double-fisted slams against the arena glass are NHL loyalists' way of salivating over intimidating body shots, knockdown brawls and concussion-producing head shots. The basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest fires a vicious elbow to the head of his unsuspecting opponent on national TV and the home crowd cheers him as he's tossed out the game, while everyone else in basketball cringed and called for Commissioner David Stern to punish him severely.
Either way, the whole thing confuses me.