Five members of the National Basketball Association's Indiana Pacers team have been charged with assault in connection with a brawl that took place during a game last month.
Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, David Harrison and Anthony Johnson were charged with one count each of misdemeanor assault and battery. Jermaine O'Neal was charged with two counts of assault and battery.
The charges stem from a November 19 game between the Pacers and the reigning champion Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
A fan tossed a drink at Artest, who then leaped into the stands and began beating another fan. A meleé ensued and the game was ended early. NBA Commissioner David Stern later suspended several players. Artest was suspended for the rest of the year while Jackson will sit out 30 games and O'Neal 25.Five fans who were involved in the fighting also face assault charges. One of them is accused of felonious assault for allegedly throwing a chair. Police used videotapes of the brawl to help them determine which players and fans to charge.