New York Knick forward Antonio Davis was suspended five games by the NBA on Thursday for entering the stands during a game in Chicago to confront a fan he said was harassing his wife.
Although the penalty showed that the NBA accepted Davis' argument that he believed his wife was in trouble during Wednesday night's game, it also made clear that entering the stands will not be tolerated.
Especially after last season's brawl between fans and players at an Indiana-Detroit game.
"At the end of the day, what we had to decide on was the issue of Antonio breaking the barrier from the court into the stands," said Stu Jackson, NBA vice president of basketball operations, during a conference call. "At the end of the day, that was the most important aspect of making that decision."
The trouble for Davis and his wife, however, might not be over.
Michael Axelrod, the 22-year-old whom Davis confronted, said he did nothing wrong -- and he plans to sue the player and his wife. Axelrod said Kendra Davis tried to scratch him after he protested a call. He said that he never touched her and that he was not drunk, adding that he had drank only a glass of wine at dinner.
Davis, president of the NBA players' association, disagreed with the penalty.
"I witnessed my wife being threatened by a man that I learned later to be intoxicated," Davis said in a statement after the game. "I saw him touch her, and I know I should not have acted the way I did, but I would have felt terrible if I didn't react. There was no time to call security. It happened too quickly."
Axelrod's father, David, is a prominent Democratic political consultant in Chicago who has worked with Sen. Barack Obama and Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Axelrod's attorney, Jay Paul Deratany, said, "A public apology from the Davises would go a long way toward resolving this."
According to Axelrod, it all started when he booed a call.
Axelrod, sitting a couple of rows behind her, said she yelled at him to be quiet. Axelrod said he did not know she was Davis' wife until the player ran into the stands. Axelrod said Kendra Davis put both hands on his face, and that he motioned for security. He said she later went after another fan.
Chicago General Manager John Paxson was fined $15,000 by the NBA for trying to confront the referees after Monday's loss to Denver in which the Nuggets shot 41 free throws to the Bulls' 12.... Charlotte Bobcat forward Sean May, the 13th pick in the NBA draft, who had been sidelined 13 games for soreness in his right knee, had arthroscopic surgery.... New Jersey Net backup guard Jeff McInnis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.