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Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2005

One year after brawl, league still feels effects

November 19, 2005

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— Millions of dollars were lost, reputations were tainted, and the NBA was shaken on Nov. 19, 2004, when the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and fans were involved in perhaps the worst brawl in U.S. sports history.

A year later, the ugly series of events and the aftermath are being rehashed and dissected.

NBA commissioner David Stern hopes lessons were learned.

"No. 1, players can't go into the stands. They need to leave that to security and not get into vigilantism," Stern said in an interview this week with the Associated Press. "No. 2, fans have to be held accountable because they can't do anything they want just by virtue of buying a ticket."

Several players and fans lost control during a five-minute stretch on an unforgettable night at The Palace in suburban Detroit. The startling scene included the scary - a fan hurling a chair - and the surreal - Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley wielding a dust pan over his head - as TV cameras captured the chaos.

Two days later, Pacers forward Ron Artest was suspended for the rest of the season. Overall, nine players were suspended.

Pistons forward Ben Wallace was suspended for six games.

"It's hard to say, 'I wouldn't do this again,' or 'I wouldn't do that,' because in a similar situation, you don't know how you'll react," he said.

Wallace said earlier this week he didn't know the one-year anniversary of the brawl would be today, but the reminder didn't annoy him.

"We know it's not going to disappear, because people will probably bring it up and talk about it for a long time," he said. "I wish the whole thing didn't happen for the sake of the fans, the league and the players. But it did, so we all have to live with the effects of it."

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