Thursday , Feb , 17 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

NBA issues revised Arena Guidelines

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The National Basketball Association issued a
revised set of Arena Guidelines to all teams on Thursday. The guidelines,
effective for all NBA contests starting with the February 20 All-Star Game,
consist of policies dealing with security, alcohol sales and fan behavior.

The changes were deemed necessary after the November 19 brawl that took place
at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The fight involving spectators and players
broke out near the end of the game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit
Pistons after an on- court dispute over a foul.

The contest was stopped with 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Indiana
was credited with a 97-82 victory. With the Pacers ahead by 15 points,
things unraveled when Detroit’s Ben Wallace was fouled by Ron 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 pushing and shoving continued by the scorers’ table as
players came off both benches. The Detroit fans then lost 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 scorers’ table. Artest was hit in
the head with a flying cup and immediately raced into the stands and started
punching whom he thought was the culprit.

Artest’s teammate Stephen Jackson followed into the crowd, along with several
other players and started swinging away at the unruly fans. Five members of
the Pacers and several Pistons fans were charged in the melee.

The new guidelines prevent alcohol sales after the start of the fourth
quarter, restrict the size of drinks to 24 ounces and limit customers to two
drinks per purchase. There will also be training of arena personnel in
effective alcohol management and the maintenance of designated driver programs
in each NBA arena.

The NBA Fan Code of Conduct, which sets forth expected standards for all fans
in attendance, will be posted in all arenas. Fans should expect to be treated
in a professional and courteous manner and be respected and appreciated by the
players. In addition, guests will not display disruptive behavior, including
abusive language and obscene gestures.

The staff at each arena has been instructed to intervene when necessary in
order to make sure that these expectations are met. Also, fans should report
any inappropriate behavior to the nearest authority.