It's good to see the olive branch being extended by the fine folks of Detroit as Ron Artest visits to pay his debt to society (or something).
This whole episode - which I've sort of ignored - with Ron-Ron telling the kids to defend himself and essentially that sh*t happens... why is this wrong? He's the most honest guy in sports. I've said it before (somewhat in jest), but I mean it: Ron Artest is one of the sanest men in the NBA. He's completely honest, completely open about himself and his demons. Kids need to learn honesty, especially given the extreme vacuum of leadership in this country.
What would a Ron Artest who comes in and professes false contrition and crossed-fingers regret do to help those kids? Not a damn thing. They aren't blind - they know the world is f*cked up and bad things happen all the time. They know people make mistakes. Fifth-graders aren't stupid. They know when someone's lying to them. So why lie? Why make the experience a sham instead of being straight with them and give them something to remember? What Ron Artest told those kids Wednesday isn't going to cause them to go beat someone down or start acting crazy - if they're going to do that crap, they were probably going to anyways.
The mistake here was made when someone decided that talking to kids was appropriate punishment for The Brawl. Credit Artest for getting a great lawyer, but there's no way this should qualify as community service. Someone dropped the ball, and Artest just did what he knows (both in Detroit two years ago and two days ago). I can't fault him for the more recent episode.