Pros need to keep fights clean

Some would say that brawls define a sport; others will say that brawls corrupt them. In my case, I believe that without brawls, games wouldn't have that extra dose of excitement to them.

Throughout the history of sports, there have been numerous occasions that brawls have broken out in every arena that you can think of.

But the most familiar to all of us at Santa Monica College would be the altercations year after year between our football squad with our rivals, seen in the consistently powerful L.A. Pierce Brahmas.

"Pierce College has a locker room setup where both teams are in very close proximity to one another," explained Gifford Lindheim, head coach of the Corsairs. "They consistently have issues with it when teams come to play them."

Thankfully, this dispute was one of lesser violence than many that have been at Pierce's home field. Coach Lindheim gives the details: "As the last of our guys headed across their locker area towards our bus, some words were exchanged between players. It drew the attention of more players and there was the potential for a bad scene."

As time goes on and SMC's football program progresses under the new coaching staff, the brawls and exchange of nasty words will hopefully be a thing of the past.

"It was a great teaching moment for our team," said Lindheim. "That will not happen again."

But our football team isn't the only sport on the field that has feuds with other robust teams.

Since the creation of basketball back in 1891 by the Canadian professor James Naismith, the highly physical sport has been prone to all sorts of disputes.

Perhaps the most famous fight in recent history embodies Ron Artest and the Detroit Piston's brawl during a 2004 NBA game.

The fight began when Ben Wallace of the Pistons had a confrontation with the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest, which ended with Wallace shoving Artest for blocking Wallace's slam dunk that resulted in a foul for Wallace.

Next, an upset spectator threw a beer at Artest, creating what would come to be known as the most horrific fight in basketball history.

The tension between the two teams formed initially after Artest managed to shoot an outstanding .414 from the field, sparking tension amongst the Pistons who fell behind as a result.

The altercation that ensued after the foul was chaotic: players started throwing punches, fans stumbled on the court in the madness and were also struck by some players, and Artest even charged the seats to pummel the spectator who threw the beer at him.

It was the most immature and unprofessional showing during a contest by NBA professional athletes.

Soon after the brawl, Artest and eight other NBA players were suspended and their salaries were affected as a result for their actions during the brawl.

The message is clear: leave the violent fighting to the hockey players. In-game disputes are acceptable, because they sometimes serve to fire a team up and compel them to win even more.

But once the game is over or if the spectators are involved, brawls have no place in the arena of professional athletics.