Pacers deal with more bad press

February 28, 2008
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shawneA throng of media members besieged Indiana Pacers players and front office executives after the team's practice today at Conseco Fieldhouse, seeking comment about the latest off-court incident involving a Pacers player. This time the focus was on forward Shawne Williams, 22. A suspect in a Tennessee murder was arrested Wednesday night while leaving Williams’ north side home. Pacers brass told Williams not to come to practice today and that he will not be traveling with the team to Toronto for a game there tomorrow. “He’s in no condition to play,” Larry Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations said of Williams. “He’s confused. He’s not all there.”

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh emphasized that Williams was not suspended. At this point, a suspension would be beyond what the Pacers are allowed to do in accordance with the National Basketball Association’s collective bargaining agreement with players. That doesn’t mean the Pacers are sitting idly by, Walsh and Bird said.  “We’ve spent an awful lot of time, especially this year, counseling our players,” Walsh told reporters after today’s practice. “When something like this happens, it reflects poorly on the player, and because the players are our responsibility, it reflects poorly on us.”

The most recent incident comes just days after a woman told police she was raped while at Pacers guard-forward Marquis Daniels’ Carmel home. Daniels is not a suspect in the case, police said.  Walsh sounded concerned that the latest incidents could keep more fans away from home games. The Pacers are already last in the NBA in attendance, averaging 12,203 through the first 29 home dates.  The team is attracting about 700 fewer fans per game than the next-to-last team in attendance, Memphis.

“The fact that any of our fans would stay home due to some of the things we’ve done is not good, and we want to correct that,” Walsh said.  Bird sounded even more stern. But he said before final action is taken, the Pacers need to learn more about this latest incident. “We’re in a situation we’re not real happy about,” Bird said. “We want to be very clear about this, we don’t want our players hanging around murderers.”

Bird continued by saying the Pacers players need to be accountable for their actions and who they hang around. “This is supposed to be a man’s league, and [the Pacers players] need to step up and be men,” Bird said. “We need to take a look at the way things are going on around here.”
  • What a mess again! It's so sad to see what has happened to this franchise over the last few years. It seems like ever since the Detroit Brawl incident the team has steadily gone downhill. The Pacers were once the pride of the city with players like Reggie Miller Mark Jackson and Dale Davis (just to name a few) representing our city in such an outstanding way. What do we have on the team now? THUGS! The Pacers organization needs to clean out this roster somehow. Until then, the attendance for home games will continue to decline. I would venture to say that the people of Indianapolis would much rather have players of character who do their best to compete in games versus Thug type players that are more competitive. And look at this team now.., They aren't even competitive and they're thugs!
  • You have to wonder if the Pacers current situation is getting to the point that it is eclipsing anything the Portland Trailblazers went through during their darkest days. During some recent games, it looks like there's only about 6,000 fans in the stands.
  • The good thing about this trend is that this may cut down on unsolved crimes locally. Greg Ballard should require detectives to monitor all Pacers home at all times. Just think of all the criminals they could get off the street using this incredibly efficient method.
  • It is sad to see that 'role models' for our youth are anything but that. I have only been to one Pacers game to watch Reggie Miller. He was awesome! But when I heard about all the trouble I realized that the team or a few players need help in their personal lives. I deal with this type of behavior or attitude all the time except in the corporate world. There is hope but only if the right people do the right thing. Good luck to the people who have to make these tough decisions. And good luck to the innocent players who are playing the sport with integrity both on and off the court.
  • I am actually embarrassed to hear of another Pacer player getting into trouble. It is sad to me that anytime you hear of the Pacer's you hear that a player is getting arrested for this or accused of that... It is getting old! As a citizen of Indiana, furthermore, Indianapolis I hope that the administration there at Conseco can figure something out because all the negative drama is not only affecting attendance at the games, but it is also affecting the community that surrounds the team. If they can make some changes then Pacer's basketball will thrive and be what it used to be.

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  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

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