ESPN’s Ric Bucher reported tonight that Indiana GM Donnie Walsh has deactivated F Ron Artest for the next 3 games, while trying to find a deal for the quote-tastic TruWarior.

The airwaves and blogs have been filled with predictable howls from persons who presumably have never had to deal with an emotionally or mentally handicapped person. Charles Barkley says he’s “disappointed” and Will Leitch cites the “growing hilarity”, but I’m struggling to find just one person who can explain how the Pacers allowed this to happen.

I’ll recall my own post from November 23, 2004 :

That he was so oblivious to the way his request for time off would be received says to me that he™s not merely a thug / wannabe musician, but a guy with a tenuous grip on reality. Since there™s a ton of finger pointing going on, how about we question whether or not Larry Bird, the Pacers or the NBA have done nearly enough to get Artest some kind of professional help? This wasn™t the first time he™s had a public meltdown, it wasn™t even the 2nd or 3rd.

Barkley calls Artest “unreliable”. A rather pissed off Jermaine O’Neal says “we’re paid to win games and we’re paid to win as a team.” But maybe Artest’s inability to buy into Indy’s team concept has less to do with his supposed arrogance and immaturity, and is instead symptomatic of a far more serious behaviorial malady?

A $6 million+ salary doesn’t make someone capable of making adult decisions. Either the Pacers can admit that they’ve been in over their heads with Artest for years, or they can continue exploiting him until the next media firestorm.