Date of this Version

7-1-2005

Document Type

Journal Article

Abstract

[Extract] On Friday 19 November 2004, a violent brawl broke out on the basketball courts of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA.1 It occurred in the final minute of a game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers at national level. The fight between the players was taken into the stands after one spectator threw water over a player. Bottles, chairs and other debris were thrown onto the courts. The offending players were suspended indefinitely. Furthermore, the police considered pressing criminal charges, primarily because the fight involved spectators. On the playing field this sort of behaviour is of regular occurrence and is usually accepted. A government rarely steps in to charge a player with assault or battery following a violent brawl during a game. Hence, it has been said that this event could be a watershed in American sport; one which could change the way players interact in the future. However, sport is afforded special treatment by both society and the State. One wonders how an isolated event such as this could affect a well established lenient approach designed to accommodate sporting pastimes.

 

This document has been peer reviewed.