Writing an "open letter" to Ron Artest demanding that he clean up his act and then emailing it to him seemed like such a good idea. Who could have guessed Artest would respond with, "Suck a cock"?
Blogger Kyle Slavin of the site "The Second Coming" wrote a very long (and pretty condescending) post last week explaining to Artest what it means to be a Laker and how his wild child antics will not fly with the L.A. fan base. Oh, he recognizes the talent, but if the Lakers don't repeat as NBA Champions it's pretty much going to be all Ron's fault.
Let me be absolutely clear: you absolutely cannot mess this season up. You fail here, and you will never redeem your career again. You ruin this good thing we have going in LA, and the rest of your basketball days will be tarnished by it. In LA, we fans run deep. We know our basketball, we know our history, and we have more than a passing interest in the Lake Show. We will be here longer than you. We have more influence than you. Win us over, and you will be a Hall of Famer. Lose our faith, and you will never see this level of love again.
See, people in Houston and Indianapolis might be willing to put up with technical fouls and fights, but not the good, respectful citizens of Los Angeles. So all Ron has to do is make zero mistakes, make every L.A. fan love him, and also teach Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic how to play basketball. Boom ... he's a Hall of Famer! Simple.
After a few people linked to Slavin's letter he figured he should give Artest a heads up, so he emailed him the link with an introduction. It's safe to say that Ron Ron was not amused.
No law when it comes to me.
I let you type critics write and I just keep it hood.
That will never change.
I am not kissing no ones ass because I'm in LA. Suck a cock.
As expected, Slavin's response was measured and dignified.
No, no, Ron! I was saying that I really want you to do well, dude! WTF, don't tell me to suck a cock! I wanna ROOT FOR YOU. I want you to SUCCEED, and I want you to WIN US A CHAMPIONSHIP! All these things are good for you! I don't want you to kiss anyone's ass! You're a LAKER now. Act like one!
Jesus, did you read the article?
What the hell man!
There's more to the story—mostly commenters arguing about who is the bigger jerk here—but the epilogue is that Slavin eventually apologized and Ron has likely forgotten about it already, because his mind is on other important things like Twitter. The thing about the internet allowing athletes to engage their fans and fans being able to engage the athletes is that you can also engage your critics. I don't see how that's a bad thing, aside from all time that gets wasted answering emails. I guess this whole worldwide interconnectedness stuff is pretty awesome until you actually have to deal with people.
Reactions to The Open Letter [The Second Coming]
Ron Artest Will Respond to Your E-Mail, Which May or May Not Be a Good Thing [FanHouse]
Ron Artest: Good Basketball Player, Mediocre Man of Letters [TrueHoop]
Check your mail, Ron Ron [Los Angeles Times]