I cannot applaud the actions of the New York Knicks’ Antonio Davis any more than this: I’m writing my first regular column on an athlete from the Big Apple (yech!). I am a Miami guy, which is to say I am about as anti-New York as they come.Jets, Giants, Knicks, Mets, I despise them all. And unless you are talking about the fine side dish at Mickie’s Dairy Bar, the Yanks are a bunch of bums too.But the actions of Davis are so exemplary that they overshadow all my distaste for the city that never sleeps.Last Wednesday night, the Knickerbockers were in Chicago playing the Bulls in what was to be just another boring mid-week NBA contest between two teams going nowhere. In all reality, even the fact that the game went down to the final shot in overtime probably wouldn’t have made it part of the first 20 minutes of SportsCenter.But with just over a minute remaining in overtime, Davis went into the stands to protect his wife, whom he thought was being threatened by a fan during a New York full timeout.Television cameras showed Davis look up into the stands and then briskly make his way to the scorer’s table, which he calmly jumped over as gracefully as a horse in an equestrian competition, and made his way over to his wife, Kendra.That was it. No more. Kendra Davis looked like she told her husband to return to the floor and once security arrived, he did. End of story.Now, the gravity of a player leaving the field (or in this case, court) of play is not lost on me at all. The Indiana-Detroit chaos set off by Ron Artest last year is the darkest moment in the history of the NBA.And if you take into account all the catastrophic events that could’ve occurred once Davis was among the ticket-holders, such as the fan punching him, or some guy tossing a beer at him, then it is easy to say that Davis’s decision was reckless and stupid.However, the most important fact is that Davis wasn’t going after a fan; he was going after his wife, who he perceived was being threatened. A man has to protect his family, period, case closed, end of story. What real man wouldn’t do anything it took to protect his kin?Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. In what movie involving the Governator’s family being taken hostage (which is most of them) does the big guy not risk it all? Sure, he blows up millions of dollars in property and probably causes a few deaths here and there, but in the end he always protects his loved ones. That is why he is a movie hero.In fact, if Davis should be criticized, it should be for not letting loose a haymaker first and asking questions later, which is more then I can say I would’ve done (had it been me, you would’ve seen a lot more Jackie Chan and a lot less Jesse Jackson in my actions).Davis made the right move in running into the stands to protect his family, on multiple levels.First off, Davis is the Knicks’ unquestioned leader in the locker room. Actually, as the president of the NBA players’ association, Davis is the unquestioned leader of every player in the league. What kind of message would it have sent if Davis had not intervened? He acted as a leader should, and led by example.Family is the first priority.Some say it was poor leadership by Davis to go into the stands because it cost New York Davis’ services for five games. That is flat out … Just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend the Knicks lose all five games Davis misses, and that if he had played they would’ve won all five. The Knicks would still be far under .500 and at best scrounging for one of the last two playoff berths, for which Detroit or Miami would reward them with a first-round trouncing.Even Spike Lee (who is usually as overstated about the Knicks’ chances as Wilt Chamberlain was about how many women he slept with) knows the team is going nowhere this year, so Davis isn’t hurting his team at all.Lastly, what about the reward Davis is set to receive? All guys know that women want a man in shining armor (and women, if you think this is stereotypical, then stop going to see movies like “Kate and Leopold,” and “Ten Things I Hate About You”) and Davis was the knight that evening. He risked life and limb to protect his fair maiden and will now be “rewarded” with an 11-day vacation where he will surely find himself being thanked many times, by said maiden. Many times.Damn that Antonio Davis and his luck. Just one more reason to hate New York.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to admit his side’s shock 3-2 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos was the worst night of his career in the competition.The Greek side went ahead three times in an enthralling Emirates encounter, eventually holding on despite Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez’s strikes to leave the Gunners pointless and bottom of Group F after two games.Arsenal now face the daunting prospect of back-to-back matches against runaway group leaders Bayern Munich with a first Champions League group stage exit since 2000 now looming.When asked if it was his worst Champions League night, Wenger snapped: “No, sit on the bench and lose a final [referring to the 2006 final to Barcelona] and I will ask you the question after.”Goalkeeper David Ospina, who surprisingly replaced Petr Cech in the starting lineup, made a calamitous error to gift the Greek’s their second goal, but Wenger vehemently defended his decision to start the Colombian.He added: “Ospina played 19 games last year and kept 14 clean sheets, last week at Tottenham he had a fantastic game. No keeper is mistake free – it could have happened to Petr Cech as well, that’s part of it.“”I don’t give you why [a reason why he dropped Cech]. I do not have to sit here and give you any explanation about every decision I make. You are capable to judge what I do and I leave you to that.“He [Cech] had a slight alert before the game at Leicester [at the weekend], I didn’t want to take a gamble, but it’s not because of that that we lost the game. It’s a farce.”