Saturday, November 20, 2004

When Pacers attack

By now, I'm sure nearly all of you have seen the ugly brawl that broke out between players and fans during Friday night's Pacers-Pistons game. Due to the the level of violence, this story was featured prominently on all cable news channels this afternoon. For those of you who have not seen it, I will offer a brief recap. It all started when Pacers' forward and wanna be rapper, Ron Artest, delivered a hard foul on Big Ben Wallace with less than a minute to go in a lopsided Pacers' victory at Detroit. Ben Wallace, who lost his brother to brain cancer earlier this week, took exception to the foul and delivered a double barrel, forearm shiver to Artest's chin.

(AFP/Getty Images)

Okay, not a huge deal yet. A timeout was called. Then for some reason, Ron Artest felt the need to lie down on the scorer's table. A hometown Pistons' fan apparently felt this was a disrespectful thing to do and let his feelings be known by lobbing a water bottle down onto Artest's face. Then Artest follows Detroit native Eminem's advice and just loses it. Artest sprang to his feet, climbed several rows into the stands and attacked a fan.

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Upon video review, it turns out that Artest didn't even attack the fan who actually threw the bottle. After Artest entered the stands, things just got totally out of control. Several other Pacers went into the seats. Several fans went onto the floor. Players threw haymakers at paying customers and paying customers threw sucker punches at players. The final lowlight of the fight came when a fan threw a folding chair into the scrum near the Pacers' bench. The fight eventually ended when the referees called the game and cleared the floor.

The NBA did not take long to react to this incident. NBA commissioner David Stern announced on Saturday afternoon that the Pistons' star Ben Wallace has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation. Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neill and Ron Artest of the Pacers have all been suspended indefinitely as well.

(AP Photo/NBAE)