<
>

NBA union chief: Melo being made an example

The day after the NBA lowered the boom for Saturday Fight Night at Madison Square Garden, Carmelo Anthony was considering whether to take his 15-game, $641,000 punishment on the chin or seek an appeal.

"We're working on it," Anthony said on Tuesday night.

Anthony's agent, Calvin Andrews, said it's up to Anthony what
happens from here.

"Melo's first mind is to say, 'Hey, that's the punishment and
I'm willing to take it. Let's move on,'" Andrews said. "If you go
back into the history of people of punching people, no one's got 15
games. So if you look at precedent, yeah, it's excessive. If you
look at the situation in the post-Detroit Era, I could see why it
happened. That doesn't mean you've got to like [the suspension]."


Under the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Anthony can attempt to get his suspension lessened through arbitration because it is longer than 12 games. But his suspension began immediately, starting with Monday night's home victory over the Wizards.

There is precedent for reducing suspensions. After the Pacers-Pistons brawl, an arbitrator lessened Jermaine O'Neal's suspension from 25 to 15 games.

Anthony shook his head as he
contemplated being without basketball for a month.

"I never had to sit out a month," said Anthony, who talked
earlier in the day about his suspension and before the Allen Iverson deal
was announced.

Anthony was contrite Tuesday as he discussed the punch he threw
at New York's Mardy Collins. He said that something was said
between him and Collins and that's why he reacted.

"It was a lot said," Anthony said. "I don't want to get into
too much detail about what was said. I'm not making an excuse."

For Anthony, this is just the latest hit to his image.

Everything was going well for him, too. Anthony was leading the
league in scoring, has a baby on the way and recently donated money
to a children's center in Baltimore and to Syracuse University for
a new practice facility.

And then the brawl.

"I think it's embarrassing," Anthony said. "I was doing good
out there. For a situation like that to happen in the heat of the
moment ... [you're] doing so good one second and then the next
second you're back down to the bottom. I've got to live with it. I
live and learn from my mistakes."

J.R. Smith feels like it's his fault Anthony drew the
suspension. Smith, who was given 10 games for his role in the
brawl, said he should've kept his composure.

"I feel embarrassed for myself, my team, Carmelo especially,
because I think I really put him in a situation where he has to
miss 15 games," said Smith, who's looking into appealing his
suspension. "Most of all, I'm upset about my family. I know
they're embarrassed from my incident. They were sitting in the
front row [at the game]. I wish it never happened."

Anthony decked the Knicks' Mardy Collins during the fracas at the end of the Nuggets' 123-100 win on Saturday night. Collins had hauled down Anthony's teammate J.R. Smith by the neck on a breakaway, setting off the free-for-all.

Also penalized: Denver's J.R. Smith for 10 games;
New York's Nate Robinson for 10 games; Mardy Collins, six; teammate Jared Jeffries, four. The
Knicks' Jerome James and the Nuggets' Nene each were penalized one
game for leaving the bench area during the chaos. Each team was fined $500,000.

Also awaiting potential discipline on Tuesday was Denver coach George Karl, who upbraided Knicks coach Isiah Thomas in a profane tirade on Monday and denied accusations that he was running up the score by leaving his starters on the floor late in the game despite a commanding lead.

Though there was no separate penalty for Thomas, who warned Anthony not to go into the lane before the
mayhem started, Karl singled him out for the
sharpest criticism, calling his actions "despicable."

"There's no question in my mind it was premeditated," Karl
said. "He made a bad situation worse. He's a jerk for what he's
trying to do."

There was speculation Thomas would be penalized for his comments
to Anthony. Stern acknowledged hearing about it, but said he relied
only on "definitive information" when handing out punishments.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Marc Stein was used in this report.