<
>

Richardson fined $35,000 for verbal exchange with fan

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State's Jason Richardson was fined $35,000 by the NBA on Thursday for improper interaction with a fan during a playoff game in Dallas.

Richardson had a heated verbal exchange with the fan after missing a shot and falling out of bounds with 21.9 seconds left in the Warriors' 118-112 loss in Game 5 of the first-round series.

The fan, who filed a complaint with NBA security, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he tried to help Richardson up after he fell out of bounds. Crockett Gambrel, 28, of Dallas told the paper that Richardson swore at him and then hit him.

"I don't think I said much. I was star-struck that an NBA player fell into me. Then he assaulted me," Gambrel told the paper. "It's a punch or a shove. Either way, he was way out of line."

Richardson talked with reporters about the incident at the Warriors' morning shootaround before the fine was issued.

"I don't even know what happened, to be honest with you," Richardson said. "It was such a tense moment in the game where I think we were down one or up one, whatever the situation was.

"I don't even worry about that. I was just trying to get back [down the court]. I don't really know what happened. I don't think anybody knows what happened. I don't even know if the fan knows what happened."

When asked directly if he hit Gambrel, Richardson said he's not a violent person and would not punch a fan.

Richardson declined to comment on whether he thought the fine was fair before the start of Game 6 Thursday night. Coach Don Nelson said he would not question the league's decision.

"I didn't even see the incident," Nelson said. "Our philosophy is that the league handles those matters and we accept whatever they decide. We can't do anything about it anyway. We just get in more trouble if we complain."

Richardson is the second Warriors player to be penalized this series. Stephen Jackson was fined $50,000 for the series of outbursts that led to his Game 2 ejection and continued as he left the court. Jackson was not punished by the league after being ejected again in Game 5, but he was fined by Nelson.