Forward can return Dec. 3
"When things like that happen, you've got to protect the league," Wallace said Monday, the day after NBA commissioner David Stern suspended nine players for their part in the melee. "You can't have guys going out reacting the way we did."
The brawl started when Indiana's Ron Artest fouled Wallace from behind with the Pacers leading by 15 with 45.9 seconds left. It quickly escalated when Wallace retaliated by delivering a hard, two-handed shove to Artest's chin.
After the players were separated, a fan hit Artest in the face with a full cup and he ran into the stands to confront the fan he thought hit him. The fracas later spilled onto the court, where Artest punched one fan and teammate Jermaine O'Neal slugged another.
Wallace, who said Saturday he didn't regret anything he did, was asked again whether he wished he had done anything differently.
"Any time you have a chance to stop and look at the situation and see what happened, you could say you could've done this different or that different," the two-time All-Star and defensive player of the year said. "But in the heat of the moment, things happen.
"We're all human. We react different under different circumstances. It was one of those things that was unfortunate," he said.
The NBA suspended Artest for the rest of the season, Stephen Jackson for 30 games and O'Neal for 25.
Does Wallace feel any compassion for Artest?
"Life is too short to be feeling sorry," he said. "Things happen and you've got to be responsible for your actions. I don't feel sorry for him."
Wallace can practice with the Pistons during his suspension but can't be in any arena they're playing in -- home or away -- within two hours of a game or during it.
When the Pistons play Tuesday at Charlotte and Wednesday at Cleveland, Wallace will stay behind at his home in suburban Detroit.
"I can get more done here," he said. "I won't be able to go to the arena to cheer for the team, so there's no need sitting in the hotel or outside on the bus. I can be here watching the game."
Detroit's next home game is Friday night against Miami.
Wallace will be eligible to return Dec. 3 at San Antonio. He will lose $400,000 of the $6 million he was due to make this season.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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