Team appealed to league to no avail

Updated: March 25, 2005, 6:03 PM ET news services

Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon doesn't want public silence on Ron Artest's suspension to be construed as a lack of support.

 Ron Artest

He told The Indianapolis Star that he, CEO Donnie Walsh and team president Larry Bird worked to have Artest's season-long suspension after the Nov. 19 brawl in Detroit reduced.

"We tried to play this the right way," Simon told the Star. "We're team players, we follow the rules of the league and we don't go public. But our fans and players should know that Donnie and Larry and I have been working on this thing consistently since the day of the incident."

When Stern said earlier this week that Artest's penalty would not be shortened, Simon decided it was OK to talk.

"It's hard for me to fathom," Simon said. "In earlier meetings he gave suggestions of what Ron can do to rehabilitate himself. Ron and his people have done everything they've asked and then some.

"The biggest problem is the misperception of Ronnie. He's given back to his community forever, has come out of a tough environment, has not messed around with drugs, has the best work ethic of anybody … He's not the kind of person people think. Yes, he made a mistake, but there were a lot of elements there. Even though we were responsible for part of it, the burden fell too heavily on us."