Given nearly a week to examine the security issues raised by the
now-infamous brawl between players and fans in Auburn Hills, Mich., Nov.
19, the Celtics returned to the FleetCenter last night with two losses and few concerns about their on-court safety.
Before facing the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics discouraged the notion that either fans or players have to worry about fights in NBA venues, including on Causeway Street.
Calling the fight a "freak incident," Celtics
forward Tom Gugliotta said he hasn't been paying attention to security
at his home court. Other players, including Raef LaFrentz and Walter
McCarty, said they hadn't noticed any added guards or measures to
prevent incidents, though some said they assumed there has been and will
continue to be beefed-up security around the league.
Players said there was no reason for fans to be hesitant about coming to Celtics games.
a fan wants to [bait a player], they can do it. And they can probably
get away it, unless you've got security lined up and down the sidelines,
looking into the stands," said Gugliotta. "But I don't think normally
they're going to do it."
With a measure of distance since the brawl, the Celtics
have had time to digest the implications. But, from all appearances at
the FleetCenter, security has not used that time to make significant
Prior to the
season, barriers were installed in front of the first row of seats
behind the baskets to prevent fans from coming too close to the court.
But longtime season ticket-holder Joanne Borzakian Ouellette said the
pipe-and-curtain constructions do little. Courtside seats remain
directly adjacent to the floor.
the start of halftime, an announcement was made asking fans to refrain
from throwing anything at players and that going on the court would
result in arrest.
said the players have not been informed of new security measures, but
they have discussed player conduct and expectations.
can hear verbal abuse," Gugliotta said. "If a fan wants you to hear it,
you're going to hear it. They have access to you . . . but you have to
put up with some things. You've got to have a thick skin."
as much responsibility on the players as on the fans for the recent
incident, Ouellette said that in her 30 years of coming to Celtics games, she never had concerns even while bringing her three children.
"I feel very safe at the FleetCenter," said Ouellette. "I think that incident was so isolated . . . I just don't see that here."