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View Full Version : Warning, article on the brawl of 11/19



Unclebuck
03-20-2005, 11:05 AM
I hesitate to post this, but I thought it was worth reading, so here it is. Nothing new here.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2002213318_allen20.html

Months have passed, but have we moved on after Palace brawl?

By Percy Allen

Seattle Times NBA reporter




AUBURN HILLS, Mich. You can't walk into The Palace, the only building that doubles as an NBA arena and a crime scene, without thinking about the night when everything changed.

The folks here like to say that they've moved on.

Everyone else who visits this place, however, is jolted by the haunting memories of Nov. 19. That night, Indiana forward Ron Artest charged into the Palace stands chasing a fan who tossed a cup of beer at him, which sparked a melee that the NBA has yet to recover from.

"It's kind of weird to go out there," Sonics guard Antonio Daniels said before last Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons. "I saw Dwight (Daub, trainer) stretching Luke (Ridnour) on the scorer's table, and I was, like, whoa. Flashback. That's exactly where everything happened.

"But everybody has talked about it so much, and everybody has seen it so much, that you just kind of put it behind you and let everything go."

For better or worse, we'll have to relive the memories once again Friday, as the Indiana Pacers return to The Palace for the first time since the brawl.

We'll hear from the combatants like Stephen Jackson, who served a 30-game suspension because he blindly followed Artest into the stands and exchanged haymakers with ticket-buyers.

Imagine what type of greeting he'll receive from the Pistons fans.

It's probably a good thing that Artest, who is serving a season-long suspension, won't be in attendance. And perhaps Jermaine O'Neal, out for the regular season with a strained right shoulder, should stay home as well.

But then again, what's the worst that could happen?

The folks here, they say, have moved on.

Last week, three men who admitted joining the fray were sentenced to probation, community service and required to take anger-management classes and submit to random drug testing.

During sentencing, Judge Lisa Asadoorian called the melee one of the "most disgusting displays of human behavior ever witnessed in the sports world," according to the Detroit Free Press.

She also said Alvin Shackelford Jr., Charlie Haddad and Jeremy Handley the first two pleaded no contest, the latter pleaded guilty will "forever bear the stigma" of being known "as one of the idiots" in the brawl.

You remember Shackelford and Haddad?

They were brave souls wearing No. 3 Ben Wallace jerseys who walked on the court and challenged Artest. Shackelford was punched in the face, and Haddad got clobbered by O'Neal.

But just to prove that not everyone around here has moved on, Haddad filed a lawsuit against O'Neal, and Shackelford is considering suing as well.

Then there's the matter of the five Indiana Pacers (Anthony Johnson, David Harrison, Artest, O'Neal and Jackson) who are due in court April 8 for their misdemeanor assault cases.

Four other fans charged with assault and battery are still awaiting trial. A fifth, Bryant Jackson, has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of felony assault for throwing a chair.

Still, folks here maintain they've moved on.

"The guy who started it, he was just a jerk and he doesn't represent the rest of us," said Doug Graham of Grand Blanc, Mich., who attended last Wednesday's game with his 9-year-old son, Neil, and 6-year-old daughter, Laura. "Most fans would never think about doing something like that. Most fans know how to act."

Four months later, normalcy has returned to The Palace.

The Pistons, who have regained their swagger and are playing once again like they intend to defend their NBA championship, enjoyed their 62nd consecutive sellout the night they played the Sonics.

And their fans, many of whom say they were there on that frightful night, are still firmly behind them.

"I'm sure you heard about the fans in Chicago, and that was a high-school game, so it can really happen anywhere," said Graham, referring to a large fight involving 50-60 people that broke out during a high-school basketball postseason game at the United Center last Monday.

"It's not a Detroit problem, it's everywhere. And it's not solely an NBA problem, the other sports, baseball and football, it could happen there, too. I give a lot of credit to the Pistons for moving on and putting all of that behind them."

In the wake of the melee, the NBA instituted new security guidelines that limit the size, the number and time period when beers can be sold during games.

Patrons can receive only two cups of beer at a time from arena vendors, and the maximum size is 24 ounces. Vendors must also stop selling beer and alcohol after the third quarter.

Now, let's think about this for a second.

Twenty-four ounces?

Isn't that twice the size of a bottle of beer?

So any patron could walk away with essentially four beers at a time. And there's no limit on how many times a customer can return. So during the course of a game, a fan could make two trips to the beer garden and pound eight bottles of suds.

The ease it takes to circumvent the new security guidelines makes you wonder why the NBA made any changes at all. Perhaps that's a liability issue, which may shield the league from lawsuits.

"I don't think anything has changed much at all, at least not for us and I don't think for the fans either," Sonics guard Ray Allen said. "I think the NBA's awareness has changed. Strategically, things we don't even notice on a day-to-day basis have probably changed.

"The security has probably changed, things we probably wouldn't even know or pay attention to. ... When I'm out there, I see the security guards, but I know if anybody wanted to, they could rush the floor. And any player could go in the stands again.

"But we live in a civilized society where people supposedly do civilized things. So I don't worry about it. I feel pretty safe."

Still, Allen will admit, his belief is rooted in hope. In reality, he knows that nothing in the NBA has truly changed since Artest tore wildly into the stands.

Four months later, we've got to ask ourselves, have we really moved on?

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

RWB
03-20-2005, 11:16 AM
"It's kind of weird to go out there," Sonics guard Antonio Daniels said before last Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons. "I saw Dwight (Daub, trainer) stretching Luke (Ridnour) on the scorer's table, and I was, like, whoa. Flashback. That's exactly where everything happened.


My goodness maybe they need to tape an outline of a dead body or something on the scorer's table. :rolleyes:

Kstat
03-20-2005, 11:35 AM
My goodness maybe they need to tape an outline of a dead body or something on the scorer's table. :rolleyes:

Oh, they were definately taping an outline of a dead body AFTER that game.....namely Ridnour's :laugh: