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Basketball Fan
01-28-2010, 04:30 PM

Report released in arrest of 2 pro baseball players in Phoenix

31 comments by Michael Ferraresi - Jan. 26, 2010 04:51 PM
The Arizona Republic

A brawl at a U.S. Airways Center lounge which led to the arrest of two professional baseball players also involved the wife of an NBA player who claimed the players' grandfather groped her at the bar, according to a police report released today.

Officers arrested Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird and his brother - New York Yankees prospect Brandon Laird - on suspicion of scuffling with security guards in the drunken skirmish during the Suns' win over the Boston Celtics on Dec. 30. The Lairds' uncle, Gregory Scott Collins, 51, was also arrested on suspicion of assault.

Police listed Charlsie House - wife of Celtics forward Eddie House, a former star with the Suns and ASU - as an investigative lead in the case, according to the report.

Authorities said House quickly left the arena's Verve Energy Lounge after accusing the Lairds' 70-year-old grandfather, who was never cited, of touching her inappropriately.

House said she "did not want any prosecution" and was "reluctant to give any of her information" to officers, according to the report. A bartender told police House claimed she was being harassed prior to the fight.

Officers who responded to the fight said Brandon Laird, 22, shouted derogatory remarks toward House and other women at the lounge before taking a swing at one of the women. The Yankees' prospect was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Gerald Laird, 30, signed a $3.9 million one-year contract with Detroit earlier this month. The Peoria resident was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault for allegedly striking a security guard
in the head from behind during the brawl.

The catcher said he felt he was in danger and just trying to "watch the game and have some fun," according to his statements to police. He also told police the fight involved "some lady inside that was bragging about her husband playing for the Celtics."

"I don't know, I didn't try to hurt anyone or strike anyone," Laird told one officer. "The next thing I knew, I was in handcuffs."

Witnesses told police the Laird brothers - who attended the game with Collins, their grandfather and their father - were cautioned by security when they arrived because they appeared intoxicated.

Collins was booked on suspicion of assault after police said he punched a security guard in the face and head as the guard tried to detain one of his nephews.

Police seized video of the melee from the Verge Energy Lounge as part of the investigation.