Nuggets' Anthony apologizes for getting ejected

Updated: November 3, 2006, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony apologized to his teammates for getting ejected from his first game as captain and said he's going to have to learn to keep his mouth shut because of the NBA's crackdown on bickering.

Carmelo Anthony

"Oh yeah, today we went upstairs and I told everybody I apologized for not keeping my composure," said Anthony, who was tossed from the Denver Nuggets' 96-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the season opener Thursday night after picking up his second technical foul.

That's not how he wanted to start out his season just hours after coach George Karl selected him and Marcus Camby co-captains.

"It was my first game, period. To get thrown out of a TNT game was kind of embarrassing," Anthony said before the Minnesota-Denver tip-off Friday night.

"I think I've just got to keep everything in check, captain or no captain," Anthony said. "You've just got to go out there and play and not let your emotions get involved."

Zero Tolerance = 4
The NBA wasn't kidding when it emphasized before the start of the season that officials would be cracking down against players who curse, throw their hands up, or make other gestures that show disgust with calls. The ejection ledger three days into the 2006-07 season:
Team Reason
Rasheed Wallace Pistons Arguing
Mike Bibby Kings Arguing
Maurice Taylor Kings On-court confrontations
Carmelo Anthony Nuggets Arguing

Anthony tossed his headband in disgust after picking up his fourth personal foul in the third quarter and referee Tom Washington lived up to the league's new take-no-guff approach and whistled Anthony for his second technical, resulting in his ejection.

"I was shocked. That's the one word I can use is shocked," Anthony said. "I just took my headband off, I was throwing it to my equipment manager and the crowd just got into it. I think he thought that I threw it at him or something like that. But I'm not that stupid."

Commissioner David Stern made it clear to NBA players this season that he doesn't want to see or hear any negative reactions when calls go against them.

Several players have been penalized for their post-whistle antics, but Anthony, the darling of the U.S. team at the world championships in Japan last summer, is the biggest star to get caught in the new net.

"There ain't no star system," Anthony insisted. "Whoever they feel like throwing out, they're going to throw out."

There is no new rule, but players and coaches were alerted through a memo and preseason meetings with referees that their actions after calls would be a point of emphasis. The crackdown has been described as a "zero-tolerance policy" -- which the league objects to.

Anthony said he's not sure how to balance his passion for the game while toeing the new line.

"I don't know, man, it's going to be hard," he said. "We've got to do it in our own way, and not try to get too involved with the officiating and what calls they're making and what calls they're not making."

Karl said teams are going to have to spend the first part of the season learning what can be said and what can't -- and to which officials.

Anthony said it's pretty clear: "I remember back in Baltimore when the mayor put zero tolerance in there, it was zero tolerance. So, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. They ain't taking nothing from nobody."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press