Sports fans often let their emotions get the better of them, whether it involves getting in screaming matches in a stadium or just throwing a remote control in the comfort of one's home. Sometimes, of course, these emotional outbursts end up as actual legal offenses, and it's here that we must remember that sports are just the outlet for some of the worst aspects of human behavior. Rooting interests and antagonisms may help bring out these emotions, but they exist regardless. They rest inside the individual, not due to whatever happens on the field of play.
So, when I tell you that NBA journeyman point guard Chris Duhon was intentionally hit by a car in an Orlando parking lot this weekend, it's important to remember that it did not necessarily occur because of his basketball career. Here are the details from Holly Bristow of local TV station WOFL FOX 35:
Orlando police investigators said a driver intentionally hit a man with his car in the middle of a Plaza Parking Garage in Downtown Orlando around 7 p.m. Saturday. It turns out, the man struck by the car is former Orlando Magic Guard, Chris Duhon.
According to the police report, Duhon and his brother-in-law, Julio Hernandez, were walking on the level 2C of the parking garage when the driver of a black Lexus started honking at them to get out of the way.
Hernandez told police as the Lexus passed by, the driver rolled down his window and some words were exchanged. Then, police said driver stopped, got out of his car and argued face-to-face with Duhon.
Hernandez told officers that he separated the driver and Duhon and that he and Duhon kept on walking and the suspect got back into his car. As Duhon and Hernandez got about twenty feet away from the Lexus, Hernandez told police the driver accelerated towards them. Hernandez said he was able to get out of the way, but Duhon was hit.
According to the report, Duhon landed on the hood of the car and his head hit the front windshield. The former Magic player was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center by ambulance.
Police said when they questioned Duhon about the incident, he didn't remember anything. They said he plans on pressing charges against the driver of the black Lexus if he is caught.
Duhon played for the Magic in the 201o-11 and 2011-12 seasons, logging 114 appearances and 16 stars. He played in 46 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last season but is currently a free agent.
This is a bizarre story, in large part because Duhon does not remember the exact circumstances of the dispute. Given that it occurred on a Saturday night, it's possible that the driver was somewhat intoxicated and got upset over, say, the perception that Duhon and Hernandez were blocking the lane as he tried to exit. Of course, given Duhon's celebrity, the driver may have yelled something about his propensity for falling into basket standards and aesthetically unpleasing play. Or maybe it was some combination of the two.
Whatever the case, I think it goes without saying that no one, basketball player or civilian, should be intentionally hit by a car. This is a sports story only insofar that Duhon is a professional basketball player; it's really a story of a maniac who thinks it's acceptable to hit people with cars over perceived slights. For instance, if a particle physicist were hit by a car for his unacceptable views on quarks, we would be primarily concerned with the whackjob who decided it was fine to use a moving vehicle as a weapon. And so it should be in this case, as well.
We hope the situation is resolved soon. Yet, no matter the explanation, it's probably best to consider sports as a tangential part of the matter. It's only about basketball to the extent that our favorite leagues and players serve as opportunities to discuss broader issues and tendencies.