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Nuggets' Anthony apologizes for getting ejected

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 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."

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."