Blazers promise better player conduct, lower ticket prices
PORTLAND, Oregon - The "Jail Blazers" could be flying the coop.
Among the topics covered in a special meeting with season-ticket holders, Portland Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson promised fans appopriate player conduct.
The meeting was held Wednesday at the Rose Garden, where fans were told season tickets would be reduced nearly 10 percent. They left with a copy of the new ticket pricing and the organization's pledge.
"Whether you're a season-ticket holder, suite holder or a fan watching the team on television or listening to the radio, everyone needs to feel proud about their association with the Blazers," Patterson said.
There hasn't been much to be proud of lately. The team has earned the nickname "Jail Blazers" for its repeated run-ins with the law, including guard Damon Stoudamire's marijuana-related arrest last month.
Stoudamire was fined $250,000 by the team after he was caught with a small quantity of marijuana at Tucson International Airport. It was the third drug arrest in two years for Stoudamire, who has pleaded innocent.
In April, the team suspended reserve forward Zach Randolph two games and fined him $100,000 after he punched teammate Ruben Patterson in practice. A week earlier, rookie Qyntel Woods was charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop.
Stoudamire and star forward Rasheed Wallace faced similar charges in November, the same month Patterson was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault.
In January, Wallace was suspended seven games by the NBA for threatening a referee outside the Rose Garden after a game.
The team's pledge had 25 bullet points. The following were among the promises to fans:
- To evaluate charachter along with basketball talent when selecting players.
- To establish a player code of conduct and to hold our players accountable for their actions both on and off the court.
- To challenge every obstacle that would prevent us from taking quick and authoritative action for any behavior that compromises our expectation of our players acting responsibly at all times.
The pledge comes at a dark time for the NBA as Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant faces charges of sexual assault.
In an effort to avoid such publicity, Blazers management also promised that players would represent the team and community "with pride" by creating a player program and development position.
"(Team owner) Paul Allen has said this is a new era for the Blazers," Patterson said. "And these steps show that we mean it."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index