DENVER -- Aiming to prevent another brawl between players and fans, the NBA issued standard security guidelines for all its arenas Thursday, including a ban on alcohol sales during the fourth quarter.
The directives cover security officers and fan behavior and apply to all NBA games -- starting with Sunday's All-Star game in Denver.AP/Duane BurlesonThe league has learned from what happened on Nov. 19.
The guidelines were sent to all teams and included an "NBA Fan Code of Conduct,'' which will be posted in all arenas. It says, "Players will respect and appreciate each and every fan,'' and it bars obscene or indecent messages on spectators' signs or clothing.
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 were given suspensions as high as 30 games. Ten players and fans were charged for fighting.
The new NBA guidelines ban alcohol sales from the start of the fourth quarter, limit the size of drinks to 24 ounces and limit buyers to two drinks per purchase. They also require designated driver programs at each arena.
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 NBA commissioner David Stern said the league is not looking for ways to kick people out.
"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,'' Stern told The Denver Post.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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