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Archive for Monday, February 5, 2001

Singer Buffett ejected from courtside seat

February 5, 2001

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— NBA referee Joe Forte isn't a "Parrothead," apparently.

Forte ejected singer Jimmy Buffett from his seat along the baseline at Sunday's game between the Knicks and Heat.

Singer Jimmy Buffett laughs as fans cheer as he stands at the end
of the tunnel overlooking the final minutes of overtime play
between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat Sunday Feb. 4, 2001
at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Referee Joe Forte ejected
Buffett from his seat along the baseline for using profanity.

Singer Jimmy Buffett laughs as fans cheer as he stands at the end of the tunnel overlooking the final minutes of overtime play between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat Sunday Feb. 4, 2001 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Referee Joe Forte ejected Buffett from his seat along the baseline for using profanity.

Forte said he tossed Buffett for using profanity.

"He was there with his son," said Heat coach Pat Riley, who had a front-row seat for the commotion. "I don't think it was that bad. I mean, come on, a few words."

The altercation delayed the game several minutes in the fourth quarter. Heat officials said Buffett, whose fans are called "Parrotheads," was escorted to another seat in the arena for the remainder of the game.

"He was using profanity," Forte said. "There was a little boy sitting next to him and a lady sitting by him. He used some words he knows he shouldn't have used, so I asked security to move him to another location.

"We don't have to take that kind of thing."

Forte said he did not know the man was the legendary singer until someone mentioned it to him after the incident.

"I told Joe Forte, I said, 'Do you know who that is?"' Riley said. "I said, 'Do you mean to tell me you've never been a Parrothead in your life?' So that tells you where our officials are coming from.

"He thought I was insulting him. He wanted to give me a technical for calling him a Parrothead."

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