This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Nov. 27, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: There’s a renewed focus on the responsibility of sports fans as we go beyond the Beltway.

The NBA handed down stiff penalties for Ron Artest and the other NBA players involved in last week’s smack down in Motown. But what about the fans who started the melee? NBA commissioner David Stern (search) says that’s part of the problem too. Watch.


DAVID STERN, NBA COMMISSIONER: We must redefine the boundaries of acceptable conduct for fans attending our games and resolve to permanently exclude those who overstep those bounds. Quite simply, participants in and around the court must be assured complete protection from unacceptable fan behavior.


BARNES: Let me start, Juan, because, because I think I don’t want to say something about Stern. I think he’s exactly right. I mean, Juan, you and I have been to thousands of NBA games (search), and we know the kind of person he’s talking about, the toxic fan, the fan who likes to get down near the players, scream the whole game, shout obscenities, sometimes throw things, angers the players, you know, makes it very uncomfortable, particularly if you’re there with your kids to be around them. And Stern, they have, look, these owners are going to have to do something, management of these teams, they’re going to have to do what Stern is saying, eject those fans, get them out of there, move them away from the players and probably out of the arena.

WILLIAMS: You know what, Fred? I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s really obscene what goes on at some of these. But I must say I was surprised to read about the extent to which players are angry at fans, and not just in the NBA, but sometimes major league baseball, where again, the fans are very close to the field. And in soccer, European soccer, we’ve seen examples of this.

I’m just surprised. But it doesn’t justify the players going after the fans. It was wrong.

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