Thu, Dec 02, 2004 - Page 20 News List

League to boost security at stadiums

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Repercussions from the brawl in Motown continue to be felt as the commissioner announced that new guidelines are coming

AP AND NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , ATLANTA AND DETROITAP, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Dirk Nowitzki, center, of the Mavericks drives the hoop against the Spurs at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

The NBA will set new security guidelines for its arenas, exerting more authority over a matter previously left to individual teams, commissioner David Stern said on Tuesday.

Stern said the Nov. 19 Pacers-Pistons brawl that spilled into the stands and led to three Indiana players being suspended for 25 or more games -- including the season-long penalty for Ron Artest -- exposed current policies as inadequate.

"I would say that's a whole subject that we have historically left to teams, and it's clear that's not going to be good enough anymore, so we're going to take another look at it," Stern said in his first public comments on the brawl since announcing the suspensions.

Stern said the new guidelines will be issued in early January.

The players union has filed an appeal on behalf of suspended players Stephen Jackson, Artest and Jermaine O'Neal, calling the penalties excessive. Jackson was suspended for 30 games and O'Neal for 25.

Stern, who issued the suspensions two days after the brawl, said he had ample time to consider the lengths of the penalties.

"Since the union has alleged that some of my public comments reflect a bias, I want to be careful, but I think it's fair to say I always think about what I've done," he said.

Meanwhile, a day after a county prosecutor was said to have told the Detroit News that players from the Pacers would be criminally charged for their involvement in a brawl with fans, the prosecutor said Tuesday that no charges were imminent.

The Oakland County prosecutor, David Gorcyca, said that while both Pacers players and Pistons fans had apparently engaged in criminal acts during the game on Nov. 19 in Auburn Hills, Michigan, it was too early to make any final decisions about charges.

"It is obvious from the multitude of video tapes that numerous Pacer players are implicated in criminal wrongdoing," the statement said. "To issue charges in haste and before a thorough investigation is completed would be irresponsible and a dereliction of our duties."

In a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon, Gorcyca, asked whether any Pacers played would be charged in the brawl, said, "it's very likely."

"It's obvious that Pacers and fans violated the law," he said. "It doesn't take a genius," he said, to see "that would translate into criminal charges once the case is presented."

But Gorcyca said he was not prepared to identify anyone who might be charged

Brian Cook came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers Tuesday, and Kobe Bryant added 20 points despite being held without a field goal for three quarters to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Milwaukee Bucks 95-90.

Cook also had a career-high 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom added 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers beat the Bucks for the second time in seven days and the eighth straight time overall.

"That's a sign of a good team," Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "It doesn't always have to be the same guy who is stepping up."

Desmond Mason had 32 points, Maurice Williams added 21 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, and Keith Van Horn had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who were looking for their first victory over the Lakers since March 21, 2001.

"A few turnovers, some missed rotations for some guys, Cook knocking down 3s down the stretch -- those are the things in the last few minutes of the game that cost us," Mason said.

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