NBA suspends Artest for remainder of season
New York, NY (Sports Network) – The NBA showed no mercy on Sunday, suspending
Indiana’s Ron Artest for the remainder of the season for his part in a brawl
between the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
“It was unanimous, one to zero,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern about the
decision. “It was my decision and I decided it.”
Stern also announced suspensions to eight other players for their part in the
melee that started on the court and eventually found its way into the seats
and included the fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Artest’s teammate, Stephen Jackson, received a 30-game suspension, while
Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal will be forced to miss 25 games. Indiana will also
lose Anthony Johnson for five games.
Detroit suffered it biggest loss with a six-game suspension to Ben Wallace,
whose two-handed shove to Artest’s face instigated the fracas.
Four other players received a one-game penalty for leaving the bench during an
on-court altercation. This list includes Indiana’s Reggie Miller, and
Detroit’s Elden Campbell, Chauncey Billups and Derrick Coleman.
“The actions of the players involved wildly exceeded the professionalism and
self-control that should fairly be expected from NBA players,” said Stern.
All together, nine players were suspended for a total of 143 games.
The suspensions will be without pay and they are not expected to be staggered.
Indiana defeated Detroit 97-82 in a game that was stopped late in the fourth
quarter due to the fight.
The Pacers led a seemingly calm game by 15 points with 45 seconds left and
then things unraveled. Wallace was fouled by Artest and the Pistons center
took exception to what he deemed a hard foul and gave Artest a two-handed push
to the face.
After that, the fighting continued by the scorers’ table as players came off
both benches to continue the melee on the court. The Detroit fans then lost
all control and began throwing cups filled with liquid and ice at Artest, who
was surprisingly staying out of harm’s way on top of the scorer’s table.
Artest was hit in the head with a flying cup and immediately raced into the
stands where he started punching whom he thought was the culprit.
Jackson followed into the crowd, along with several Pacer players, and started
swinging away at the unruly fans.
“Mr. Jackson was well into the stands and he certainly wasn’t going in as a
peacemaker,” said Stern.
O’Neal was also involved in a fight on his way to the locker room. O’Neal
apparently knocked a fan out cold after being hit with a foreign object and
charges might be pressed on the All-Star.
After security tried to get the players out of the crowd, the game was called
with 45 seconds remaining. However, the fighting was not over as Detroit fans
continued to pelt the Pacers as the players were being escorted into the
locker room. The players and coaches were finally able to make it into the
tunnel, but not before all tempers were lost.
“We are in touch with all 29 arenas to make sure that they have adequate
security in place,” added Stern.
This was the first game between these two teams since last year’s Eastern
Conference championship. The Pistons won last year’s series 4-2 before
eventually winning the NBA title.
Indiana will next visit Motown on March 25 and hosts the Pistons on Christmas