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Thread: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

  1. #1
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    Default Sunday Pacers articles

    All these articles contradict eachother.

    Still some fight left, but . . .

    What a difference a week makes

    Ron Artest went from slugging it out with fans ...

    ... to signing autographs within a matter of days.

    It's been a little more than a week since that terrible night in Auburn Hills. With suspensions having been handed out and rap albums released, here's a look at some of the other fallout from the Pistons-Pacers slugfest:

    The case is almost certain to go to arbitration, with Washington-based arbitrator Roger Kaplan having sole power to uphold or shorten the record suspensions. Kaplan has been on the job hearing league grievances since the NBA fired John Feerick, the former Fordham law school dean who gained infamy in the Latrell Sprewell case, nearly five years ago. Feerick ruled that the league did not have the right to terminate the final three years of Sprewell's deal after he choked P.J. Carlesimo.

    Kaplan first will determine if he has jurisdiction in the Pistons-Pacers case, perhaps in the next 10 days. The league will argue that the riot in Detroit was strictly an oncourt matter, which would give David Stern the sole right to determine penalties. But several times in announcing the penalties, the commissioner said that Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson "crossed the line'' when they ran into the stands to fight unruly fans.

    Does that line separate oncourt and offcourt activities? Kaplan will be the one who makes that determination. One question, though: If this were just an "oncourt'' incident, how could Stern ban Artest for the entire season, while nailing Jackson for 30 games?

    Past imperfect

    If Kaplan rules that he has jurisdiction, the case probably will be heard within the next 20-30 days. In that hearing, which would take up to five days, according to persons who have worked on NBA grievance hearings, witnesses will be called and evidence, such as videotape of the riot, will be introduced. The league is bound to bring up Artest's history of bad behavior and suspensions in justifying his penalty. Stern said it factored into his "unanimous, 1-0" decision to sit Artest the remainder of the season.

    But the league also tried that in the Sprewell case, bringing up the fact that he once attemped to attack Jerome Kersey with a two-by-four, among other sordid details in his past at Golden State. But Feerick turned a blind eye to Sprewell's history when reinstating his contract, which totaled nearly $25 million.

    The union will contend that based on previous fights, the suspensions were excessive. The only other player who ever ran into the stands to confront a fan and throw a punch was then-Rocket Vernon Maxwell. He got 10 games and a $25,000 fine for attacking a fan in Portland.

    Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, who was as aghast at the level of violence displayed in the Pistons-Pacers fracas as anyone, wanted Artest to be banned through the All-Star Game, making it a 42-game suspension. Hunter could have lived with 20 games apiece for Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal, who were bounced for 25.

    Stern probably will contend that the riot was unprecedented, and that allowed him to hand out unprecedented penalities. The riot shook the league to its very foundation, so Stern had to do what he did to send a message to its players and the ticket-buying public. From this vantage point if he had bounced Jackson for the season as well, it would have been justifiable. From watching the tape, Jackson's sole mission as he entered the stands was to take out fans.

    After the hearing, Kaplan will have 30 days to rule, but both sides will likely ask for a fast ruling.

    Someone call security

    The league has issued an alert to the 29 arenas: increase security where it's called for and deal swiftly with unruly fans. In actuality, the league probably needs to immediately address security only at the Palace, the cesspool of NBA arenas. Fans in Detroit are allowed to get away with more than anywhere else. More than one player, including one with a high-ranking position in the union, has said privately that the Palace is the worst place for a visiting player because of racist comments and the lack of security.

    Rules for fools

    Security sources say the league is working on new rules that deal with how players act on the court. One is going to prohibit players from lying down on the scorers table, as Artest did before he went into the stands to find the fan who threw the cup at him. Call it the "Artest Rule."

    "We've never been told what consequences we would face if we ran into the stands and started fighting with the fans," said Cleveland's Drew Gooden.

    Well, now they know. As Atlanta's Kenny Anderson said upon reflection, "You can't go into the stands. We have to act professional."

    Playoffs? What playoffs?

    Artest is under the mistaken impression that he gets to come back for the playoffs. "When those 73 games are over, I'll be ready for the first round," he said. "I'll have a lot of muscle, a lot of energy, a good jump shot."

    Sorry, Ron. The league defines its season as including playoffs, too. See you in 2005-06.

    Deal's a deal

    In case the Pacers are thinking of voiding Artest's deal - which has four years left at $29.16 million - they can't. According to a lawyer who has looked at Artest's contract, it doesn't contain a clause that triggers termination for the behavior Artest engaged in.

    Forget Paris

    With the rest of the season off, Artest might be thinking of picking up some extra money by going overseas to play. But Indiana would have to give permission and the Pacers aren't going to do him any favors.

    Slam Dunks

    Something to keep an eye on: Allen Iverson's tardiness and aversion to practice is already starting to wear thin on coach Jim O'Brien, and teammates as well. . . . Karl Malone is not interested in playing in Indiana, which certainly could use him. The Mailman would have to accept the vet's minimum of $1.1 million, pro-rated. There's only a 50-50 chance he'll return and it would be only for the Lakers, anyway - and not before Jan. 1. He told friends this past week his knee is 100%. . . . Malone's old teammate, John Stockton, had his No. 12 retired last week in Utah. No surprise that his speech to the Delta Center fans ran all of about 20 seconds - probably twice as long as he had intended.

    One scout's take on Vince Carter, the subject of more trade rumors than anyone else these days: "He's still a talented player, but he no longer plays with that fearlessness he had when he came into the league. Back when he first started, he got to the basket, no matter what. That separated him from a lot of guys. But age and injuries have taken their toll on him."

    Seattle, yes, Seattle, became the first team with 10 wins when it held Minnesota's Kevin Garnett to a season-low 16 points Tuesday. Over the course of two games, the undersized Sonics held Garnett and Tim Duncan to a combined nine-of-32 shooting and only 33 points, while posting double-digit wins over the Spurs (by 19) and Timberwolves (by 11). They used the same strategy for both superstar big men: Push them off the block, surround them, constantly body them and make them work. "This shows that our style of ball, we can win with this," said Seattle's Danny Fortson. We'll see about that in May.

    An Enigma In the Hall Of Infamy
    Suspended NBA Player Is Full of Contradictions

    By Mike Wise and Sally Jenkins
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Sunday, November 28, 2004; Page A01

    The basketball player branded America's menace is on the telephone, calling from a children's pizza parlor in suburban Indiana. Ron Artest knows television does not lie. That's him on videotape, balling his fists, over and over.

    He also explains that trauma is relative, pleading for everyone to move on -- beyond even the endless televised loop.

    Ron Artest is restrained following a fight with fans at a game in Detroit on Nov. 19. He was suspended for the season and could lose $5 million in salary. (Duane Burleson -- AP)

    After all, when Artest was 12, he saw someone get shot in front of his housing complex in New York City, but life kept moving then, too. "We just gathered the kids around us and told 'em it would be all right," Artest recalled. "They could go outside again.

    "People say I'm a thug or whatever," Artest said. "But my cousin got life for killing someone. I have other cousins who sold cocaine and drugs. So what type of person am I supposed to be? Don't I deserve some credit for overcoming that? I didn't see a lot of nice stuff growing up, so really, who am I supposed to be?"

    Who is Artest supposed to be? Villain to many, victim to some, today the all-star forward of the Indiana Pacers is at the epicenter of one of the most violent altercations in the annals of American sports, a free-swinging brawl nine days ago between players and fans in the final minute of an NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons in a suburban Detroit arena. Repeated televised replays of the fight have spot-shadowed the widening disconnect between millionaire basketball players and their suddenly emboldened customers.

    Two days after the melee, National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern suspended Artest for the remainder of the 2004-05 season -- a total of 73 games, the longest non-drug related suspension in NBA history. The NBA Players Association has appealed Artest's suspension, and those of Pacers teammates Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal, who were docked 30 and 25 games, respectively, for their role in the brawl.

    But it was Artest's behavior that thrust him into a select hall of infamy, alongside basketball's Latrell Sprewell, who choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, seven years ago, and Todd Bertuzzi, the NHL player who is awaiting trial on assault charges stemming from an on-ice sucker punch last season.

    The image of Artest leaping into the stands to confront a fan after being pelted with a large beverage -- and the subsequent punches Artest landed to another fan who approached him on the court in a threatening manner -- became career-defining. The NBA's reigning defensive player of the year stands to lose more than $5 million for his actions.

    "I just plan to move on with my life and come back on the court," he said during an interview Friday night arranged by his business partner in a record-label venture. Artest phoned back to emphasize how much he deeply regretted the brawl and its impact. But on the advice of his lawyers, Artest refused to discuss specifics of the incident.

    'He's Emotional'

    Before the events of Nov. 19, Artest, 25, had been fined $87,500 and suspended a total of 15 games during his six seasons as an NBA player. Stern acknowledged Artest's past had influenced his decision.

    When Artest was confronted with his litany of suspensions, he pointed out that most of his physical anger was channeled toward inanimate objects, such as the video monitor he destroyed at Madison Square Garden two years ago. Many of his fights, Artest said, have pitted him against immovable basket stanchions or telephones he yanked from the wall.

    "I never hurt anybody in the NBA, you know?" he said.

    Artest is often guileless, displaying an emotional candor that is raw and unsparing. He fits into no narrative. He seldom recognizes the magnitude of his deeds or, often, his words.

    Artest seemed not to fully comprehend the fallout earlier this month when he asked the Pacers for a month off to help promote a record he was financially fronting and to rest his sore body.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Suspensions Mobilize NBA Players' Union

    By Greg Sandoval
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, November 28, 2004; Page E01

    The swift manner with which the NBA meted out punishment to Ron Artest and other members of the Indiana Pacers in the wake of the brawl last week in Auburn Hills, Mich., has rankled many in the NBA Players Association at a time when the league and its players' union are entering a crucial phase of labor talks.

    NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Artest for the final 73 games of the season, a move that will also cost Artest more than $5 million in salary. In addition, Stern suspended fellow Pacers Stephen Jackson (30 games) and Jermaine O'Neal (25 games).

    Under NBA rules, Stern has not only the authority to hand out suspensions but also the final say on appeals. Billy Hunter, the players' union's executive director, will crisscross the country to tell the more than 400 union members that Stern's authority must be scaled back.

    "If you don't challenge this apparatus now, what happened to Ron Artest can happen to anyone," Hunter said in a phone interview this week. "This is a grave concern of mine and [the players]. A bunch of them have already told me 'Billy, you can't let these suspensions stand.' "

    Said Washington Wizards forward Etan Thomas, the team's player representative: "What good does it do you to file an appeal to the guy who set the punishment? Is he going to admit he was wrong? You need someone independent to hear the appeals."

    The issue takes on greater importance with labor negotiations intensifying. The existing collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of this season.

    Stern "has now made this a big issue at the labor negotiations," said a person close to the players' union. "He can do anything he wants with that power. The union is going to want a change."

    Stern has clearly indicated that the league wants stricter standards for player conduct.

    At the news conference to announce the suspensions last week, Stern said, "Although we didn't ask to be at the epicenter of this discussion, we now are going to be in discussion about what we're going to tolerate with respect to fan behavior, what we're going to tolerate with respect to player behavior."

    The replays have been shown repeatedly since the melee at the end of the Detroit Pistons-Indiana Pacers game on Nov. 19. In one of the ugliest incidents ever in American sports, Artest and Jackson charged into the stands to exchange blows with fans, some of whom had thrown objects at the players, including a cup that struck Artest in the face. Fighting continued on the arena floor and at the tunnel exit.

    At least nine people suffered minor injuries; two have filed lawsuits. Auburn Hills police said that charges against fans and athletes are "forthcoming."

    Stern was praised by much of the public -- and some of the league's corporate backers -- for coming down hard on the players involved. Some fans have called on the commissioner to continue cleaning up the league's "thug" image.

    Hunter expects the issue of discipline to be aired during negotiations, but stopped short of calling it a deal-breaker.

    He acknowledged that the league locked out the players at the conclusion of the last labor talks in 1997 and notes a provision in the league's television contracts that allows the NBA to field teams staffed by replacement players in the event of a work stoppage.

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    NBA players, coaches and legends weigh in on Artest
    By Ron Higgins
    November 28, 2004

    You can still watch the replay over and over again.

    Even more than a week later, you'll see the Indiana at Detroit fight played Nov. 19 on some news show, watch the Pacers' Ron Artest recline defiantly on the scorers' table, see the beer fly out of the stands and hit Artest, watch the ensuing brawl in which Artest and teammate Stephen Jackson went in the stands to fight with fans, and then see young children afterward standing near the melee crying because of the violence.

    The fallout from the fight, and the resulting suspensions to several players, including NBA commissioner David Stern's season-long sitdown of Artest, is something that won't go away for a while.

    Artest, who said he had been hit before by objects from the stands, hasn't been the slightest bit contrite about charging into the stands and hitting the wrong fan, one who didn't throw the beer.

    "Sometimes you want to let people know they can't be doing stuff," Artest said. "They should calm down."

    From around the league -- except for the Grizzlies because they were ordered by management not to talk to media about the incident -- reaction has been strong and varied:

    Bucks forward Marcus Fizer: "I've played with Artest since we were 11 or 12 years old. I know the ups and downs of his career. He's an extremely cool guy. Ron never got into it about anything. He's a very misunderstood guy. Sometimes, he lets his actions get the best of him."

    Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich: "No matter what happens, it's not worth going in the stands. He's (Stern) doing what he has to do to protect something precious, and I'm all for that."

    Heat center Shaquille O'Neal: "I look at (the relationship with fans) as sometimes entertainment. When you go in a hostile arena, they want you to lose, but I don't think they want to hurt you. I've never seen anything like that. I don't know what I would have done in that situation. I'm very corporate, but I probably wouldn't let it get that far. I'm the son of a drill sergeant."

    Pistons coach Larry Brown: "We have a responsibility to act the right way all the time. I never buy this thing that we're not role models. I've said numerous times that some of the things I do on the bench, I go home shaking my head and feel bad about it because the fact (is) young people are watching you."

    Bucks forward Toni Kukoc: "The moment that got me the most was the little kid crying. You want to see the games and enjoy the basketball. That's what all the kids are going for, to see their idols play. And then when that happens, and you see a kid crying, something was obviously wrong."

    Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "It's embarrassing for our league, our fans, and it's an indictment on society that our priorities are such that it could escalate into something like this. It's usually something you hear about in Europe in soccer games. But this shows we're no better than anyone else. We can be fools, too."

    Spurs guard Tony Parker of France: "In Europe, a fight is not too strange, especially in soccer games. But I've never seen players fight fans before. Even in soccer, it was always fans vs. fans."

    Celtics forward Paul Pierce: "I feel for him (Artest) as a competitor. I couldn't imagine what he's going through now. No player should be suspended for the season."

    Minnesota coach Flip Saunders: "You know when you're on the road, you're covering each other's back. Security (personnel) shouldn't be cheering for the home team, they have a job to do like people running the shot clock. We have security at some places, like Denver, hecklers say stuff and security is laughing about it. Those are the things that (make you angry) as a team."

    Spurs broadcaster and former NBA forward Sean Elliott: "I don't care if a fan throws beer on you, or popcorn on you, there's no way you go up in the stands. Period. It was humiliating for the whole league."

    Wizards center Etan Thomas: "No player can be expected to contain himself after being hit in the face with a cup or a bottle. The law allows a person to defend themselves if they are under attack. Those (Detroit) fans are the most despicable forms of cowards. I wouldn't even call them fans. I would just call them cowards."

    Former Lakers center George Mikan, the NBA's first legitimate big man: "Fans used to throw things at me. Once in Rochester (N.Y.), they threw a knife at me, it had to be 4, 5 inches long. It missed me ... sometimes you wanted to go whack somebody, but then you say to hell with it."

    Cavaliers forward Ira Newble: "I don't agree with a whole season for Artest. I don't think it's fair. He was provoked. Any of us could have acted the same way in that situation."

    Sixers swingman Aaron McKie: "A lot of times, guys hear stuff, and they want to run up in the stands. You understand what you're up against. We understand it's all in fun, but sometimes people go overboard with it. You have to keep it professional."

    Magic vice president Pat Williams: "It was like dropping a match in a dried-out forest. There's security and police in buildings; granted, those aren't Marines behind the benches, but what are you supposed to do, have the National Guard there?",00.html

    marc j. spears
    Don't count Pacers out just yet
    By Marc J. Spears
    Denver Post Sports Writer

    Wow, wouldn't that be something if the NBA season ended with Ron Artest holding the championship trophy? It's not out of the realm of possibility.

    The consequences of the battle royal at The Palace at Auburn Hills, Mich., combined with injuries have many believing the Indiana Pacers face a lost season. However, the Pacers could end up being stronger in the long run - a fresher, more experienced team that could make it to the NBA Finals.

    Last Monday, Pacers all-star forward Artest was suspended for the season by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Nov. 19 fight with fans in Detroit. Pacers all-star forward Jermaine O'Neal was suspended for 25 games; Pacers guard Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30.

    If the suspensions stand, Artest will have all the time he needs to promote Allure's new album, which is barely leaving music store shelves; O'Neal will be back in the middle of January and Jackson will be back at the end of January.

    Losing their three best players was a major blow to the Pacers, who are first in their division with a 10-3 record going into tonight's game in Seattle.

    NBA players union director Billy Hunter called the penalties excessive and said Artest's suspension should be for 35 games, which would keep him out until around February's All-Star Weekend in Denver. The union filed its appeal Nov. 23, asking for arbitrator Roger Kaplan to review the suspensions, and asked for an expedited appeal. Hunter hopes to get a response this week.

    Kaplan's term as arbitrator expired in September, but a new arbitrator has not been named.

    Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, Stern has sole discretion over punishment for on-court behavior. Hunter, however, believes Kaplan should be involved since part of the fight took place in the stands.

    "It depends on how strictly you interpret the on-court clause," Hunter told Bloomberg News. "If you use a strict interpretation, then he's (Stern) out of the ballgame."

    As a comparison, Hunter has cited the punishment of 26 games imposed by the NBA in 1977 when Rudy Tomjanovich was seriously injured by a punch thrown by Kermit Washington. Also, on March 4, 1998, an arbitrator reduced Latrell Sprewell's one-year suspension for choking Golden State coach P.J. Carlesimo by five months. Sprewell, who attacked Carlesimo in December 1997, ended up missing 68 games.

    A business expert predicted last week to Newsday that the union will win its appeal to reduce the suspensions.

    "There's a reasonable chance Artest will get the suspension reduced, although there's zero chance he'll get it eliminated," said Marc Ganis, a consultant to NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball teams. "The union will say this is excessive and go to an arbitrator. Arbitrators typically cut the baby in half, so to speak."

    If the suspended Pacers get their sentences reduced, there will be a lot of games left to earn a solid playoff position in the weak Eastern Conference. O'Neal should be healed from nagging injuries once he returns. Artest, O'Neal and Jackson will be playing with huge chips on their shoulders. The Pacers' bench will be stronger as young players like David Harrison, Fred Jones and James Jones will receive valuable experience from unexpected playing time. Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley will have gained experience as a team leader. Sharpshooter Reggie Miller, center Jeff Foster and forward Jonathan Bender should be back from injuries.

    A healthy Pacers team with all its players back is a scary team come playoff time. It's a championship-caliber team as well. Time will tell if the Pacers get their pieces back in place.,...562876,00.html

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    On the NBA | Brawl casts a pall over fans' future

    By Joe Juliano

    Inquirer Staff Writer

    Millions of words have been written and thousands of replays - at last count, oh, say, 981,417 - have been shown since Ron Artest climbed into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills to touch off a melee that delivered a severe public-relations blow to the NBA.

    After all that reading and watching, the conclusions are these:

    No player of any kind, in any sport, at any level, has the right to cross the line and go into the stands except in the most extreme emergency, say, if his family is in imminent danger.

    No fans have the right, no matter how much they pay for the seat, to throw anything at any time at a player or on the court or field of play, or to enter the playing area, or to confront a player, or otherwise to act like major boors.

    All players and fans have to take a step back, consider the definition of the word sportsmanship, and follow that as best as they can to the point where it becomes the cool thing to do.

    The Nov. 19 brawl involving Artest, his Indiana Pacers teammates, and fans had both immediate and long-term effects on the game. The Pacers lost three starters, including Artest for the remainder of the season. In all, nine players from the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons were penalized.

    In the long run, the incident could mean an end to the proximity between players and fans. It could mean more security guards and less time to purchase beer at the concession stand. It's a subject that teams and arena officials will discuss in the months ahead.

    What it means to fans at large isn't quite clear. Will they behave better or worse? Will they be moved back from the action? Will Big Brother listen in on their language?

    As for Artest, he is awaiting an appeal of NBA commissioner David Stern's decision suspending him for the rest of the season. He says he has no idea how the appeal will turn out, but he can't feel too good about it, since Stern is final judge and jury on the verdicts and on the appeals.

    Artest admitted that he did think about how all the events unfolded, from his hard foul against Detroit's Ben Wallace, to Wallace's shove of him, to the referees' difficulty in controlling the situation, to his lying down on the scorer's table, to the thrown beer, and, finally, his leap into the stands. If any of those early events hadn't happened, he would still be playing basketball for the Pacers.

    "I think about it all the time," Artest told the Indianapolis Star. "All the time. That's what kills me. I was right there. Wow."

    What they said

    Here are some comments from around the league on the brawl:

    Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "You look back at guys like Jackie Robinson, who had guys spit on him, who had objects thrown at him, who couldn't go to restaurants. If anybody was ever provoked, it was him. So I don't want to hear the 'provoked' thing. I think that's not a good excuse."

    Miami center Shaquille O'Neal: "I am the son of a drill sergeant. You have got to have discipline. I am the type that there are not very many words out there that are going to make me snap. Actions might make me snap, but not words."

    Heat forward Christian Laettner: "I think it's a little bit that some of the professional athletes are spoiled a little bit. Another part of it is fans think they're too much a part of the game, and they're not. They're spectators. They have to realize what spectating means. It means they shouldn't get involved."

    Atlanta Hawks forward Al Harrington: "With me, I just try to be creative. If a fat man says something to me, I say something about being fat. If he's bald, I say something about him being bald. I take it as being fun. At the end of the day, it doesn't make any sense to go after someone."

    Former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman: "Ron Artest was wrong for going into the stands to punch some fans. But they were wrong, too, for throwing things at him. I believe that most players in Ron's situation would have gone into the stands. I probably would have done the same thing."

    San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "Nobody is belitting the fact there were a couple of players that acted unwisely and dangerously. But there were just as many or more fans who acted as idiots. We have more than 400 people in this league, all of whom act wonderfully while they absorb unbelievable amounts of abuse in the most personal context of any professional sport."

    Cagney of the court?

    With referees seeking to crack down on objectionable behavior in the wake of the Artest incident, the Pistons' Rasheed Wallace has anointed himself the new public enemy No. 1.

    "With Artest out, I'm on the blacklist now," the Simon Gratz High grad told the Detroit News. "I got the target back on my back."

    Wallace was speaking after being ejected from Tuesday night's loss to Charlotte. After a turnover by the Pistons, a frustrated Wallace flung his headband across the court and received a technical foul from referee Tony Brothers. A second T quickly followed.

    "They are saying now when you throw stuff toward the stands, it's a tech," said Wallace, whose headband wound up on an auxiliary press table. "I questioned the man, 'Since when?' And he said it's always been like that.

    "I know it hasn't been for the simple fact that Ben [Wallace] has done it a couple of times and I've done it a couple of times, and it wasn't called. I guess it stems from the stuff" that happened on Nov. 19.

    A mercy stop

    Pity the poor Utah Jazz. Last week, in the span of three nights, on their home court, the Jazz lost to the two teams that had yet to gain a win in the NBA this season before entering the Delta Center.

    On Monday, which happened to be the night the Jazz retired John Stockton's jersey No. 12, the New Orleans Hornets (0-8 going in) picked up a 76-75 victory. Then, on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls (0-9) walked out with a 101-99 victory.

    It hasn't been a fun week. The Hornets' Jamaal Magloiredominated the inside against Utah with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Against the Bulls, the Jazz committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.

    "Possession after possession, our execution needs to be better," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Ducking your head and not being responsive to the other guys on the floor - that's the biggest concern."

    Mourning's health

    Is kidney recipient Alonzo Mourning showing the effects of heavy-duty action earlier in the season?

    Going into Friday night's game at Seattle, Mourning had played only 13 and 19 minutes in his previous two contests. His totals: six points, six rebounds, 2-of-13 shooting from the field.

    "I don't think it has anything to do with my condition," Mourning said after a two-point performance Tuesday at Denver. "But at one point, I was struggling so much to try to catch my breath that it was almost like somebody was trying to keep me from breathing."

    After Mourning's four-point performance in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Nets coach Lawrence Frank indicated there was no cause for alarm.

    "We're just searching for a combination, just trying to find things that work," he said. "We're struggling a little bit and we don't want to exhaust Alonzo. It's a long season."

    Mourning's former coach at Georgetown, John Thompson, is much more concerned, telling the New York Daily News that Mourning needs to retire.

    "I just think he needs to pull away and enjoy the rest of his life," Thompson said. "But knowing Alonzo, I knew he would no more pay attention to me than the man in the moon.

    "I will stand with him with whatever he decides. But I told him, 'I think you are crazy and shouldn't do it [play basketball again].' "

    In his first nine games of the season, before Tuesday night, Mourning had averaged 12.2 points and 7.3 rebounds.

    Stephen A. Smith | NBA union taking a noble, futile stand

    By Stephen A. Smith

    Inquirer Columnist

    The commissioner stood at a dais using words such as revulsion and fear, pontificating as to how such alarming words depicted the melee that had shamed his sport.

    David Stern wasn't that scared, however. Certainly not too scared to suspend Ron Artest for the season, confiscating $4.99 million of his salary and sticking another thorn in the side of the National Basketball Players Association, whose power repeatedly appears to be dwarfed by the iron fist presiding over the NBA.

    Sadly, considering the collective-bargaining rules that govern and regulate the NBA, Artest would have had a better chance at leniency had he committed a crime. At least then he would be guaranteed due process, free to have his case heard, backed by a constitution steadfast about upholding his rights.

    If only the NBPA could do such things.

    For those who may not have heard, there's an appeals process being entertained by the players association regarding the melee at the Palace in Auburn Hills that got eight players suspended and may go down as the most infamous moment in NBA history.

    Artest was suspended for the rest of the season, and his players association appears determined to fight the ruling vigorously. Whatever you think about Stern's handling of this case - and I thought he acted appropriately - it's a good bet that the NBPA's argument is falling on deaf ears, because the commissioner is the final voice on all on-court disciplinary matters.

    The NBPA had a chance to address Stern's unilateral power in such matters during the last collective-bargaining negotiations, but couldn't rectify the situation because of 11th-hour pressure coming from the players, who wanted a deal done.

    Now Stern has smacked it again.

    "Well, that power has been in place for about 25 to 30 years," said the NBPA's executive director, Billy Hunter, when reached by phone Friday night.

    "It evolved in the late '70s or early '80s. The league was in trouble, and many teams were on the verge of bankruptcy because they were suffering from severe image problems. There was a lot of alleged drug usage, etc. The game was not as popular as it is now with the media, but also the league was in transition... from being a predominantly white game to a predominantly black game.

    "I remember there was a magazine article back then with a caption that said, 'Can David Stern Sell Black Basketball to White America?' It was at that time the league was in trouble. So the heads of the unions decided to appease David, who contended he needed the authority to regulate player conduct and administer discipline where he thought necessary in order to ensure the success and survival of the league. Because it was an extremely bleak period, the union agreed to grant him that power."

    Several individuals have suffered since.

    Vernon Maxwell suffered a 10-game suspension for running into the stands in 1995. The Knicks lost a chance at a world championship in 1997 because several of their players got off the bench for a fight with the Miami Heat. In the mind of the NBPA, Stern occasionally levies his fines and suspensions unfairly, as in his ban of Artest.

    "Our contention is that we have the right to have the matter heard, because everything did not take place on the court itself," Hunter explained. "Obviously, we're parsing the language. We think 'on the court' is on the court... and not necessarily on other parts of the arena."

    We'll see if that Hail Mary pass works.

    But at least the NBPA is trying something. In the union's quest to generate a sense of unfairness by Stern, it is hoping time will exacerbate wounds instead of heal them where Artest is concerned. If it raises the aggressiveness and political astuteness of all its members for the impending collective-bargaining negotiations this summer, knowing the decision about this issue could form the backdrop for discussions, so be it.

    It's not about to complain.

    Remember, it's the league that wants a 20-year-old age limit and the length of the maximum guaranteed contract reduced from seven years to at least four, possibly three. Another black eye, brought on this time by Artest, only serves Stern's purpose.

    "Discipline and on-court behavior are mandatory subjects to be addressed through collective bargaining," said Charles Grantham, a senior fellow at the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, who served as the NBPA's first executive director from 1987 to 1995.

    "The remedy is found in arms-length negotiations," Grantham said, "and this is the forum where these subjects should be addressed, not in the court of public opinion. In this instance, the court of public opinion is not going to impact the commissioner."

    It was never going to, to begin with.

    Which brings to mind one huge question: Why fight a losing battle?

    We can only hope the NBPA will have an answer. Shortly.

  5. #5
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Run and gun: Pacers still winning
    Web Posted: 11/28/2004 12:00 AM CST

    San Antonio Express-News

    Divine intervention?: How have the Indiana Pacers managed to win three of four games after losing their top three scorers?

    More coverage
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    Starting five: Coaches who may not last the season

    Take it from Scot Pollard, the NBA's version of Robin Williams.

    Said Pollard: "It was kind of like when John Wayne got cancer and they had to take out both of his lungs. He said, 'Take 'em both out, Doc. I don't need 'em. I'll grow gills and breathe like a fish.' Take away our three best players and we'll just pray."

    Not a drawing card: Attendance was a big deal when the Hornets left Charlotte after the 2001-02 season.

    That's when attendance that had peaked at a 24,042 average in 1995-96 and 1996-97 sagged to an all-time Charlotte low average of 11,286.

    So, how are the Bobcats doing in their first season? Through six home dates, they've had one sellout and have drawn 95,080 fans for an average of 15,846. That would mark the third-lowest figure in Charlotte's now 15-year NBA history.

    A need to connect?: Antonio Davis is in line to be president of the players union if Michael Curry doesn't get back into the NBA this season.

    Thus, what Davis had to say about the Pacers-Pistons brawl last week carries some weight.

    "As VP of the union," said the Bulls' forward, "I'm trying to get players to understand the business of basketball and why it's so important for us to have a good, clean image and to connect with the fans and enjoy what we do. The NBA is really hurting for image right now.

    "If you take all the sports, NACSAR, baseball, you're going to find us at the bottom as far as fans being receptive. You see people on the street, you should (talk) with them, spend a few minutes because these are the people who ultimately will take care of us."

  6. #6
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Here is a positive story on the Pacers.

    New Pacers are worth rooting for

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    The saddest thing was how good they had been.

    This was all forgotten the moment the bodies poured over the scorer's table and the fists swirled and the beer flew. Lost in the Brawl of the Century was the way the Indiana Pacers had gone to Michigan and torn through the NBA champion Detroit Pistons, beating them by 15 points.

    Even in November, when no one is supposed to care, it was an impressive victory. In part because these teams cared. After a bloody Eastern Conference finals the spring before in which Detroit beat Indiana in six games, they cared a lot. And it mattered to the Pistons on that night last weekend that the Pacers had seemingly found a flaw.

    It mattered so much to Detroit center Ben Wallace that he went after Indiana's Ron Artest, the move that started the whole brawl.

    "I didn't think we could go there and win like that," Pacers president Donnie Walsh said.

    Now, in the time it took Artest to leap two rows of press tables, it has all been forgotten.

    As has the dream of a championship they all thought was real.

    Which is why if you root for one team that comes into KeyArena this year it should be the Indiana Pacers, who must now pick through the ruins of their broken dreams. It's not their fault Artest leaped into the Detroit stands and the rest of the core of the Pacers Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson followed behind. With a few swings of the fists, Artest, O'Neal and Jackson were gone for 128 games.

    How can you not love Jamaal Tinsley, the guard who has pulled this broken team onto his back, shooting the Pacers through their worst week? Or how about Fred Jones, suddenly thrust into the starting lineup, dropping jump shots from all over Conseco Fieldhouse while he wears a wristband of Jackson's?

    When they should have been done, the Pacers got better. They stood with six men in uniform that first night after the fight and still almost beat Orlando. Then they won at home against Boston, Minnesota and Charlotte.

    Instead of sinking to the bottom of the NBA's Central Division, they are 10-3 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

    How, in this season gone so wrong, can you not root for this team?

    "I'm very proud of our coaching staff and our players," Walsh said. "They're giving you everything they can."

    Then he paused.

    "They're doing it in the right way too, staying together," he said. "Now that (togetherness) has to go to an extreme."

    Sometimes it's ironic how the best stories can come from the worst moments. The fight in Detroit on Nov. 19 opened wounds in our country. The ensuing debate pitted black against white, athletes against fans, civility against respect. And then out of the chaos came the basketball team in the center of the storm, shattered, depleted but refusing to give in to disaster.

    There never really was a low point. The fight happened, the Pacers got on a plane, flew home and played the next night without Artest, O'Neal and Jackson, who had been suspended indefinitely. It wasn't until the next day that the true punishments came down and the Pacers learned that Artest was gone for the year and O'Neal and Jackson were out until mid-winter.

    When the suspensions were finalized, Walsh and Larry Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations, walked into the team's locker room and addressed the players. The meeting was short.

    "We just said, 'This is where we are, this is what we have to do,' " Walsh said.

    That was it. The players understood the rest.

    They had to change themselves, adjusting from being a defensive power into a three-point-shooting team. They have thrived and if they can somehow hold on until they get O'Neal and Jackson back, they might be better because of all they have gone through.

    "There's no doubt we're having to play a lot of guys who wouldn't have gotten to play," Walsh said.

    And if the Pacers do survive, it would be impossible not to make former Sonics broadcaster Rick Carlisle the Coach of the Year. Because nobody in the NBA has had to go through something like this.

    Maybe after everything, the darkest night can bring a team everybody should love.

    Les Carpenter: 206-464-2280 or lcarpenter@seattletimes

  7. #7

    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    I liked this quote from Sam Smith: "Sadly, considering the collective-bargaining rules that govern and regulate the NBA, Artest would have had a better chance at leniency had he committed a crime. At least then he would be guaranteed due process, free to have his case heard, backed by a constitution steadfast about upholding his rights."

  8. #8

    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Thanks for posting these. I haven't had time to look at much around the league. It will certainly be interesting to see how it all plays out this year. Go Pacers!!

  9. #9
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    A million thanks for those posting UB, they make great reading

  10. #10
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    The appeal process is so slow it would appear that it won't really help J.O or Jax.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    The only thing that's really going to matter is what our teams looks like for the playoffs. The way things have been going, I would be astonished if we don't make the playoffs, but hardly anybody goes deep into the tournament without a full roster. Fingers crossed that Ronnie is back by April rested and ready to JUST play ball.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Following the process of taking the appeal to Stern is just a technicality. The only hope the union has is to take this to a Federal labor arbitrator, or court to try to get this authorized for review by an arbitrator. With all the steps involved in that, they would be lucky to get it heard in 6 weeks. Then if they're lucky enough to be allowed to have it reviewed by an arbitrator, all of the suspensions would be up except for Artest. In that best case scenario, the players may get some money back, but the Pacers are still punished by not having them.
    I don't understand why all the silence from the Simons, and Pacers. As an organization they're really getting the shaft on this, while the Pistons aren't being held accountable at all. I think they need to set up the meeting with the board of Governors now. The big question is, will they?

  13. #13
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacerized
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    Following the process of taking the appeal to Stern is just a technicality. The only hope the union has is to take this to a Federal labor arbitrator, or court to try to get this authorized for review by an arbitrator. With all the steps involved in that, they would be lucky to get it heard in 6 weeks. Then if they're lucky enough to be allowed to have it reviewed by an arbitrator, all of the suspensions would be up except for Artest. In that best case scenario, the players may get some money back, but the Pacers are still punished by not having them.
    I don't understand why all the silence from the Simons, and Pacers. As an organization they're really getting the shaft on this, while the Pistons aren't being held accountable at all. I think they need to set up the meeting with the board of Governors now. The big question is, will they?
    Maybe they are being publicly quiet while they work some back channel negotiations and don't want to poison the waters?

    Or maybe the league has muzzled them with some type of threat?

    I don't know why the recent silence BUT I can understand some reasons why we might be seeing/hearing it.


  14. #14

    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    The appeal process is so slow it would appear that it won't really help J.O or Jax.
    Maybe it could help a little.

    If Kaplan rules that he has jurisdiction, the case probably will be heard within the next 20-30 days. In that hearing, which would take up to five days, according to persons who have worked on NBA grievance hearings, witnesses will be called and evidence, such as videotape of the riot, will be introduced.
    If Kaplan rules he has jurisdiction, I would imagine Artest could be the biggest beneficiary.

    If precedent means anything, I think the league will have a hard time justifying what amounts to a five million dollar fine and 70 plus game suspension. I'm hoping Stern already knows this. If Stern gets overruled, he still gets the best of both worlds: he got to send his message to the players and to the public, but yet he presides over some really great television ratings in the playoffs. Who wouldn't want to watch Artest, especially against the Pistons?

    First question is whether Kaplan will say he has jurisdiction. That ruling apparently comes in the next 10 days.

  15. #15
    Member Slick Pinkham's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    It's a stretch to think that Kaplan has any say in the matter. It all began with a clearly "on court" altercation between Artest and Wallace. Though it spilled into the stands, I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't be considered an in-game incident, for which Stern has full authority.

    The arbitration process is set up for non-game-related issues like criminal behavior and contract issues. I'd like for it to apply in this instance, but would be surprised if it does.

    It has to gall the player's association that Stern can take away millions from a union member and have nobody in a position to overrule him. But I guess they are living with the bargaining agreement that they willingly signed.

  16. #16
    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    The PAcer organization may not wish to go after the NBA for the simple fact that they are PART of the NBA. Damaging the league ultimately comes back to damaging themselves too.

  17. #17
    Administrator/ The Real Jay Jay@Section12's Avatar
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    Default Re: New info on the appeal process. Confusing

    I'd be very suprised if Kaplan rules that he has jurisdiction. It takes a very biased and literal interpretation to deduce that this is not the type of in-game situation in which everyone agreed Stern should have authority.

    I still would not be surprised if Stern negotiates a lesser punishment for JO, in exchange for the NBPA dropping its complaints about SJax and Artest even before Kaplan rules.

    Gotta think the Simons are in a very uncomfortable position - as owners they certainly don't want to see any of Stern's powers lessened, even if they do want to get thier players back on the court quickly.

    Just a hunch but they'd probably be okay with lessening JO's punishment in exchange for dropping the appeals of Ron's/ SJax's punishment, but clearly the NBPA is driving this and they're focusing on the highest $$$ penalty, not the absence of an MVP candidate and first class citizen that didn't even leave the court - the penalty that hurts the Pacers the most.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you

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