Skip to comments.NBA suspends Artest for rest of season; eight players get shorter bans
Posted on 11/21/2004 4:05:38 PM PST by El Conservador
NEW YORK (AP) -- Ron Artest was suspended for the rest of the season Sunday as the NBA came down hard on three members of the Indiana Pacers for fighting with fans when a melee broke out at the end of a game against the Detroit Pistons.
Overall, nine players from the teams were banned for more than 140 games, including some of the harshest penalties the league ever issued. Artest is the first player to be suspended for nearly an entire season for a fight during a game.
``The message the league sent was so powerful to players that they'll never do that again,'' Pistons CEO Tom Wilson said.
Indiana's Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30 games and Jermaine O'Neal for 25. Detroit's Ben Wallace -- whose shove of Artest after a foul led to the 5-minute fracas -- drew a six-game ban, while Pacers guard Anthony Johnson got five games.
``I'm sick about that for Indiana. I'm devastated for them,'' Pistons coach Larry Brown said. ``And we lost our heart and soul.''
Four players were suspended for a game apiece: Indiana's Reggie Miller, and Detroit's Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell and Derrick Coleman.
All of the suspensions are without pay.
Artest, O'Neal and Jackson -- who all threw punches at fans in the stands or on the court at the end of the nationally televised Pacers-Pistons game Friday night -- began serving their suspensions Saturday. Indiana, limited to just six players because of the suspensions and injuries, dropped an 86-83 decision to Orlando.
``The actions of the players involved wildly exceeded the professionalism and self-control that should fairly be expected from NBA players,'' NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement, adding that the league must not ``allow our sport to be debased by what seem to be declining expectations.''
The NBA also has to ``redefine the bounds of acceptable conduct for fans attending our games and resolve to permanently exclude those who overstep those bounds,'' Stern said.
He added that security procedures in all NBA arenas will be reviewed and rules need to be added to prevent a repeat of what happened at Auburn Hills, Mich., on Friday.
For Sunday night's home game against the Charlotte Bobcats -- Detroit's first outing since the melee -- the Pistons doubled the number of armed police to about 20 in the arena and increased other arena security personnel by about 25 percent.
When some spectators lined up to take pictures with Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter on the court before the game, two police officers stood just a few feet away.
The brawl was particularly violent, with Artest and Jackson bolting into the stands near center court and throwing punches at fans after debris was tossed at the players.
Later, fans who came onto the court were punched in the face by Artest and O'Neal.
Nine people were treated for injuries, and police are investigating possible criminal charges.
Wallace began the fracas by delivering a hard, two-handed shove to Artest after Wallace was fouled on a drive to the basket with 45.9 seconds remaining. After the fight ended, the referees called off the rest of the game.
The initial skirmish wasn't all that bad, with Artest retreating to the scorer's table and lying atop it after Wallace sent him reeling backward. But when a fan tossed a cup at Artest, he stormed into the stands, throwing punches as he climbed over seats.
Jackson joined Artest and threw punches at fans, who punched back. At one point, a chair was tossed into the fray.
The most recent example of an NBA player going into the stands and punching a fan came in February 1995, when Vernon Maxwell of the Houston Rockets pummeled a spectator in Portland. The league suspended him for 10 games and fined him $20,000.
Among the harshest non-drug-related penalties in NBA history was a one-year suspension of Latrell Sprewell -- later reduced to 68 games -- for choking Golden State Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo at practice.
Kermit Washington of the Los Angeles Lakers drew a 60-day (26-game) suspension in 1977 for a punch that broke the jaw of the Houston Rockets' Rudy Tomjanovich during a game, while Dennis Rodman was suspended 11 games for kicking a courtside cameraman in the groin and six games for head-butting a referee.
Artest was benched for two games this month for asking Pacers coach Rick Carlisle for time off because of a busy schedule that included promoting a rap album.
Artest was suspended twice by the NBA last season, once for leaving the bench during a fracas at a Pacers-Celtics playoff game; the other for elbowing Portland's Derek Anderson. During the 2002-03 season, Artest was suspended five times by the NBA and once by the Pacers for a total of 12 games.
Artest also once grabbed a television camera and smashed it to the ground after a loss to the Knicks two years ago.
Updated on Sunday, Nov 21, 2004 6:42 pm EST
I know.. it really is a slow news day.
Yet, no whites suspended. Call Jesse and Al Sharpton. This is racism ipso facto.
Nothing But A$$holes
It has been years since I got the slightest enjoyment out of watching the NBA. I have no interest in basketball whatsoever.
Artest will have plenty of time to promote his rap album now.
Just boycott the Criminal NBA....
They are a bunch of thugs anyway.
How many have College Degrees?
How many have criminal records?
They are not role models they are nothing but criminals run amok.
Stern is a pathetic excuse for a leader. Artest & O'neil should have been banned for life....
Again, all he does is blame the fans....
Well, as a former fan, you won't have to worry about my family, sons, et al paying to see any games, we'll stay home where it is safe.
Screw the NBA, it is no longer basketball, it is all about individuals out for themselves.
And screw the Auburn hills Police MORONS.... They saw crimes being committed and arrested no players, none.... Where is their integrity, their duty to arrest criminals in the commission of a crime. Bunch of paid off moron union thugs that didn't bother doing their jobs again...
Must be more revenue in speeding tickets huh, Auburn Hills... Panzies....
Just turn it off, and go play with your children.
Hey did you hear? I went to a Basketball game and a Music Awards Ceremony broke out?
The NBA commissioner is a joke. He should be fired.
For Ben Wallace to only get a 6 game suspension is a travesty.
1. Ben Wallace unjustifiably shoved Ron Artest after a hard, but not flagrant foul.
2. Ben Wallace then threw a towel at Ron Artest after Artest had stopped arguing and had lain down on the tables.
3. The throwing of the towel incited the fan to throw the beer at Artest.
But for Ben Wallace's actions, the ugly incident would not have occurred.
Ben Wallaced deserved at least a 25 game suspension.
And who are they supposed to shoot - the perp players?
Stern won't be fired, he is protecting the game, his dollars and job...
The only thing that will work is a MASSIVE BOYCOTT of all things NBA, games, TV, advertisers, merchandise, etc....
Why didn't the police officers on duty go to the locker room and arrest those involved for assault & battery?
Led by the king of all A$$holes, David Stern. He has presided over the degenration of this league, which is in the thrall of the music, alcohol, broadcast and sportswear industries. The league's marketing panders to gangsta lifestyles.
Did you hear his press conference? He was so lawyerly in parsing his words he reminded me of a dumbed-down Bill Clinton.
If he was actually accountable to someone (he's not), I would have his a$$ over this.
During the jackass's 21 years, the league has gone from Magic and Bird to Allen Iverson, Ron Artest, Latrell Sprewell, Ben Wallace, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony........oh, geez. It is me-first thuggism instead of the unselfish team ball that created fan loyalty. Good riddance, NBA. Nice legacy, Commissioner.
Well deserved suspensions. I congratulate Commissioner Stern.
"Why didn't the police officers on duty go to the locker room and arrest those involved for assault & battery?"
Exactly... More UNION THUGS protecting other union thugs.
Pathetic scumbags observe crimes being committed and do nothing.....
Fans are not safe, so don't go. The only ones I saw being hauled off were fans...
These guys make so much money and part of their job is putting up with fan behavior. Fans have always shouted comments during during sporting event. The sudden rash of beating them up is disgusting. These players are spoiled rotten.
I couldn't agree more!
The players are nothing but a bunch of thugs and the majority of the fans of the NBA are just as thuggish as the players.
They deserve each other and the NBA is a total joke.
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