NBA suspends players involved in brawl
NEW YORK (AP) - The NBA suspended Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson of Indiana and Ben Wallace of Detroit on Saturday for taking part in an ugly brawl.
The suspensions were indefinite, and the league was still investigating Friday night's melee involving fans, which commissioner David Stern called ``shocking, repulsive and inexcusable - a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA.''
The league issued a statement saying it was reviewing rules and security procedures ``so that fans can continue to attend our games unthreatened by events such as the ones that occurred last night.''
Artest, O'Neal and Jackson - all of whom threw punches at fans during the fight at the end of Friday night's nationally televised Pacers-Pistons game - were to begin serving their suspensions Saturday night, when the Pacers played a home game against Orlando.
Wallace's suspension will begin with the Pistons' next home game, Sunday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. Pistons spokesman Tom Wilson said Saturday the team plans to use ``playoff-level security'' starting with that game, doubling the number of armed police and increasing arena security by about 25 per cent, though he couldn't say how many police and security that would be.
``Our investigation is ongoing, and I expect it to be completed by tomorrow evening,'' Stern said in his statement.
The brawl was shocking, with Artest and Jackson bolting into the stands near centre court and throwing punches at fans after debris was thrown at the players. Later, fans who came onto the court were punched in the face by Artest and O'Neal.
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 melee broke out, the referees called off the remainder of the game.
``This demonstrates why our players must not enter the stands, whatever the provocation or poisonous behaviour of people attending the games,'' Stern said