Latrell Sprewell's 21.4 points per game aren't among the Golden State Warriors' statistics in the team's pregame notes.
His unprecedented termination for attacking Coach P.J. Carlesimo is listed without fanfare: "12/3/97--waived guard Latrell Sprewell." No different than when the team cut guard Carl Thomas on Nov. 7.
For the players and coaches, life goes on.
"With the team, things have been settled down," Warriors forward Joe Smith said before Golden State played the Clippers Thursday night at the Pond.
It's not about Sprewell anymore. Hasn't been for some time.
The whole ugly incident has tumbled into the gorge, the great racial divide that always lurks around, ready to take over any conflict that involves two people of different colors.
Race had nothing to do with the action. It was simply the act of a knuckleheaded basketball player who happened to be black choking an overly intense coach who happened to be white.
Somehow it escalated into an example of All That is Wrong With Society. And you'd better believe race had everything to do with the reaction.
This didn't happen when relief pitcher Rob Dibble wrestled with Manager Lou Piniella in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse. Both were white.
It didn't happen when then-Seattle SuperSonic Xavier McDaniel choked Laker guard Wes Matthews on the court in the 1987-88 season. Both were black. Michael Westbrook pounds the senses out of his teammate Stephen Davis and the NFL sees no need to punish Westbrook beyond the team's suspension. Both were black.
Don't try to pretend that the big R isn't lurking behind the reaction to Sprewell-Carlesimo.
On the white side of the divide, there was definitely a rush to judgment, as Johnnie Cochran would say. (How about the rush to judgment of Cochran? People jump to the conclusion that he's going to play the race card when he's about the only one who hasn't mentioned race? Couldn't Sprewell have hired him just to have a good lawyer?)
On the black side of the divide, there was a rush to defense. There's really no way to justify what Sprewell did, and some people are searching for racial motivation where there is none.
Back on the attack, people point to the fact that Sprewell came back a second time. That really isn't that unusual. For years there have been stories bouncing around the NBA about players getting into fights with teammates at practice, in the locker room or in the weight room and then parting with the unmistakable words, "I'll be back" (code for "I'm going to get my gun"), and returning several minutes later waving a piece.
And there are huge faults with the argument that the issue at hand is disrespectful toward authority, faults that get at another issue altogether.
Why is it worse that Sprewell choked a coach instead of another player? Why did people demand an immediate suspension when Roberto Alomar spat on an umpire, but Bill Romanowski gets off with a measly $7,500 fine for spitting in the face of J.J. Stokes on Monday Night Football this week?
It's the gladiator mentality that pervades sports and how we view them. Let the combatants duke it out and the loser gets tossed to the lions. It's as if their rights and some of the basics of human dignity are irrelevant. As soon as it extends beyond the arena, then it's trouble.
That's the same attitude that taints our views of violence in the 'hood. When black men kill other black men it's a news brief on page B6. But if a police officer or a child takes a bullet it's on the front page. Oh, what a tragedy. This has to stop.
A life is a life, just like a crime is a crime.
And all too often when we picture a criminal, the face looks like Sprewell's.
The teammates who stood behind Sprewell at his news conference last week were criticized. So what do we have to say about the 65,000 people at 3Com Park who cheered Edward DeBartolo during the halftime ceremonies honoring Joe Montana on Monday night?
First of all, DeBartolo allegedly punched a 64-year-old Green Bay Packers fan outside Lambeau Field after the Packers beat the 49ers last January.
More recently, DeBartolo is the man who gave up his ownership of the 49ers to avoid controversy and concentrate on his defense while reportedly under the scope of a grand jury investigation that could bring a federal indictment.
DeBartolo is alleged to have made a payment of $400,000 to a former Louisiana governor before receiving a gambling license in the state.
The fact that an NFL owner is involved in the gabling world ought to be concern enough. If he is found guilty of anything illegal, that's just as bad as anything Sprewell has done.
"White-collar" criminals are let off easily in our society, as if what they do really isn't that bad even though it probably affects more of us.
We pay higher premiums because of insurance fraud. Hackers take vital personal information off the Internet. And ultimately what would be worse: being mugged for the cash in your wallet or having your whole retirement savings wiped out by an embezzler?