- (Photo: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Los Angeles Lakers' player Metta World Peace has met criticism and an ejection from the basketball game following his foul against a player for the Oklahoma City Thunders.
Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, swung his elbow into the head and neck of Thunder forward James Harden during the match Sunday, causing the player to fall to the floor. Harden rose after several minutes but did not return to the game. The player did not address the media after leaving Oklahoma City's locker room following the game.
Meanwhile, Peace was pulled from the game and told an official that the elbow was "unintentional."
"During that play I dunked on [Kevin] Durant and [Serge] Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow," Peace explained. "I hope he's OK, The Thunder, they're playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he's OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden."
Reports Monday indicate that Harden suffered a concussion after taking the hit from Peace. Many basketball fans have blasted Peace for the move, calling the elbow "violent" and a "flagrant foul."
"MettaWorldPeace needs to get his emotions under control," posted basketball legend Earvin Magic Johnson on Sunday. "That elbow on Harden will get him suspended."
Lawrence wrote, "Every time I see that Metta World Peace elbow to Harden's head, I only get angrier. No place for that. #FalseToughGuy"
Peace later addressed the foul on Twitter, pleading that the elbow was inadvertent.
"Hope James Hardin [sic] is ok…," wrote the Lakers forward. "I remember when I hit [sic] by Marc Gasol that same way… I was spitting up blood and a headache during the game…"
Peace added, "I just watched the replay again… Ooo. My celebration of the dunk really was too much…. Didn't even see James… Omg…. Looks bad."
The foul could result in Peace's suspension from the league. The Lakers have one more game in the regular season on Thursday before the playoffs begin next weekend.
Meanwhile, Harden must complete steps to confirm that he is fit to play following a concussion. He will perform several tests in increasing levels of exertion until he displays no symptoms after each one.