In reaction to brawl, NBA introduces new security measures

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2005

DENVER — The NBA is using All-Star weekend to introduce new security guidelines for all its arenas in hopes of preventing a repeat of the brawl between players and fans in Detroit earlier this season.

Among the new guidelines announced Thursday will be a ban on alcohol sales during the fourth quarter, a 24-ounce limit on the size of alcoholic drinks and a limit of two alcoholic drinks per customer. Designated driver programs will be required at each arena.

The new security measures are mandatory for all 30 teams.

''We look at this as an opportunity to remind people that coming to an arena is an opportunity to share an experience of rooting a home team on to victory and booing the opposition, but not doing it in an anti-social way that goes against our civil society,'' NBA commissioner David Stern told The Denver Post.

Beginning with Sunday's All-Star game and continuing through the season, each team will post an ''NBA Fan Code of Conduct'' in prominent spots around their arenas and will make periodic public-address announcements reminding fans of the policy.

Language included in the code of conduct:

—''Players will respect and appreciate each and every fan.''

—''Guests will be treated in a consistent, professional and courteous manner by all arena and team personnel.''

—''Guests will enjoy the basketball experience free from disruptive behavior, including foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.''

Players and fans brawled in the stands and on the court at the end of a game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons in November. One of the most violent episodes in NBA history was sparked when Indiana's Ron Artest went into the seats after being hit by a cup tossed by a spectator.

Artest was suspended by the NBA for the rest of the season, and other players drew suspensions as high as 30 games. One of the players, Jermaine O'Neal of the Pacers, is starting for the Eastern Conference. Ten players and fans were charged for fighting.

The league plans to provide guidelines on the number of security officers teams should employ, as well as their tactics and placement in the arenas. The guidelines say fans can be ejected for breaking the rules, but Stern said the league is not looking for ways to kick people out.

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