O™Neal said if the courts choose to reinstate his suspension he will accept that just as he did the original penalty. But he contends that all the suspensions, including Artest™s seasonlong ban, were excessive.
He said those who witnessed the incident on television saw only 20 percent of what happened. He resents that many in the media have placed the blame on players more than fans.
œThey made sure they just showed us hitting people, O™Neal said. œThere™ s a reason why we were running around. There™s 15 of us, and there™s thousands of them.
œI saw a lot of people say the NBA is too hip-hoppish. What is too hip-hoppish? What does our preference of music have to do with who we are? I™m pretty sure a lot of hockey players and baseball players listen to rock ™n™ roll and heavy metal. Does that determine who they are?
O™Neal pointed out that a Texas Rangers player threw a chair into the stands this past baseball season and broke a woman™s nose.
œIt wasn™t talked about for seven weeks, he said. œThe (NBA) is 85 percent black. All of a sudden we™re under scrutiny for who we are.”