NBL to probe mascot assault - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NBL to probe mascot assault

06/01/2003 06:04:09 AM Comments (0)

Security will be addressed at the Cairns Taipans' venue after a spectator was arrested for assaulting the team's mascot during an NBL round to remember.

The Taipans will meet on Monday with the Cairns Convention Centre management to review security and decide whether to take further action against the man who tackled their mascot on Friday night.

NBL chief executive Peter Ali said he would talk to the Taipans about the incident. He would also call the Brisbane Bullets after referees had to be escorted away from an angry crowd on Saturday night.

Cairns mascot Joe Blake made most "play of the day" TV highlights for all the wrong reasons after cameras captured the incident with the spectator during the Taipans' 86-75 loss to West Sydney.

Riding a scooter court-side in a giant snake outfit, the mascot was tackled by a man who ran out from a corporate box, sparking fisticuffs that spilled into the crowd.

The man was arrested but the Taipans are believed to be taking the matter further.

The incident came during a timeout soon after Taipans player Anthony Stewart and West Sydney centre Dave Hinton were ejected following an altercation of their own in the final quarter.

It did nothing to cool down the atmosphere at the venue which had endured faulty air-conditioning throughout the match.

Barely 24 hours later, tempers had to be cooled at Brisbane after Bullets coach Joey Wright was ejected and the referees were escorted off by security when the Sydney Kings won 121-105.

When the game ended, referees Scott Butler, Anthony Leicht and Adam Hill had to be led off as angry fans converged.

The Bullets management reacted by cancelling the post-match press conference.

Soon after Wright was ejected, Brisbane captain Simon Kerle was hit with a technical foul, further igniting a crowd of almost 3,000 fans.

Ali said he would speak with both clubs to see if further action needed to be taken.

"When it comes down to it the Taipans organisation would have to decide whether they want to take it further or not," Ali said of the mascot assault.

"And with the Bullets, there is always security personnel there just to ensure the safety of the referees.

"I'm not sure if there is concern for their safety, the venues they play at have a pretty good track record of making sure the safety of everyone is at the highest level.

"I will be discussing it with (Bullets general manager) Jeff Van Groningen and it will be interesting to see what Sydney's take is on that as well."

It was all part of a memorable NBL round in which Perth and Townsville extended their winning streaks to seven games to set up an intriguing clash on Saturday night at The Swamp.

On Saturday night, ladder leaders Perth (15-3 record) thrashed visitors Wollongong (3rd; 12-7) 109-89 and Townsville (6th; 10-11) outlasted West Sydney (7th; 9-10) 104-99 at home.

The Victoria Giants (11th; 4-14) also pushed Adelaide (5th; 11-10) all the way at Vodafone Arena on Saturday night, only to lose 107-99 and sink to nine straight losses.

West Sydney broke its road hoodoo on Friday with an 86-75 win over Cairns (9th; 7-10) - only its second away victory this season.

Having beaten Brisbane (10th; 5-15), Sydney (2nd; 12-5) was well-placed with four straight wins.

On New Year's Eve, Melbourne downed Brisbane 87-78, Adelaide beat Cairns 103-91 and Townsville outlasted Wollongong 121-110.

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