Monday, November 22, 2004

Out of Bounds

"We have to make the point that there are boundaries in our games," N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern said, "and that one of those boundaries, which has always been immutable, is the boundary that separates the fans from the court. And players cannot lose control and go into the stands. As a corollary, we have to hold fans responsible for their antisocial behavior as well."

When was the boundary breached?

In the Roman Colosseum, when the plebeians turned their thumbs down? At the 1936 Berlin games, when Hitler snubbed Jesse Owens? Or last Friday when the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and the Detroit fans brawled at Detroit's Palace of Auburn Hills?

Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest in the stands.

An athlete must be able to withstand the slings and arrows of a fan's remarks, and even a beer shower. No matter what happens, you just have to suck it up.

Bounded by the team bench, the athlete has no place in the stands.

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