I just came out of traffic listening to a succession of sports yak pundits going nuts about Ron Artest’s lack of professionalism, disrepect for the game, etc. , along with hearing countless replays of Artest admitting that he didn’t know what the word “integrity” meant.

How much integrity does it take for Mike Golic to dump on a player who is clearly troubled and doesn’t possess an adult level of emotional maturity? How much integrity do persons like Rick Carlise and Larry Bird have to put someone Ron Artest on the court without addressing the fact that he might not have any idea what integrity means, amongst other things? How about the coaches and faculty at St. John’s University, how great a job did they do for him?

Ron Artest had the misfortune of asking for time off / making a clusmy public statement in the same month that Latrell Sprewell hinted he’d not play hard for the T-Wolves, and as such, the former is the latest whipping boy for commentators who think today’s NBA is filled with selfish jerks . The Pacers, who profit wildly from the exploits of Ron Artest, are free to hang the player out to dry. Maybe he does need a month off. Maybe he needs a year off. I really don’t know. But there is something terribly predictable about the way Artest is being villified.