The very fact that people are defending a man that ran into the stands to beat up some ******* that threw a beer and further defending the teamates that thought it was a good idea to back him up on that says everything that needs to be said about the perspective on this message board.
Seriously, in an ideal world that fan deserved a good beat down.
However in the real world of professional sports the behavior demontrated by Artest and his teamates was the lowest form of behavior possible by a professional athlete. The court is NOT the STREETS where people are judged by being tougher, not taking ****, and gaining respect that way etc...
It's the exact opposite.
You gain respect by walking away and not getting a technical foul that costs you a close game.
You gain respect by not fighting, not getting suspended, and not blowing your whole season when you might have the best team.
You allow the NBA, referees, police etc... to handle matters like these depending on the circumstances.
People use the word thug. If that's not appropriate, so be it. What they are trying to say is that there is a way real professional athletes behave and there is way tough guys behave. You want tough guys on your team when you are out on the streets. You don't want them on an NBA team. That doesn't mean you allow people to push you around and turn into a ***** etc.... It means you play tough but according to the rules.