Tuesday, March 7, 2000
The Fresno State coach saysBy Pat Bigold
the Rainbows' center 'did not
instigate' a fight involving
an unruly fan
FRESNO, Calif. -- The fan who was involved in a postgame fight Saturday night at Selland Arena with University of Hawaii men's basketball player Marquette Alexander has vowed to file charges with the District Attorney's office.
However, Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian has come to Alexander's defense, saying the fan was "out of line.''
"I understand Alexander is getting some heat from people on that deal, but I talked to people who saw it and our fan was out of line totally," Tarkanian said after the end of the Rainbows' practice session on the Bulldogs' campus.
"All he did was respond to the problem one of our fans caused. You make sure that people in Honolulu get that. He did not instigate the incident."
Tarkanian also criticized the Selland Arena security.
"We have to do a better job with those fans and keep goons away from guys like Alexander," he said.
Glenn Douglas, the fan in question, displayed his injuries during interviews with two local TV stations Sunday night. He said his injuries resulting from Alexander's punches "were extensive.''
RealAudio: Replay the radio broadcast of the game
"My knee was swollen, both of my lips are swollen, I got a head injury, I got bruised on my back when he hit me," said Douglas in an interview with KJEO producer Jeff Daigle.
Douglas vowed during the telecast to file charges yesterday with the D.A., but there was no confirmation that he had.
Douglas admitted he had taunted Alexander from the stands during the game about "shooting bricks." Douglas said he proceeded downstairs as the game was ending to meet his friend and leave.
"He (Alexander) remembered me and came and picked me out and told me to 'say something else,'" said Douglas. "I said, 'Forget about it, the game is over.'
"He kept saying, 'Say something else,' and before I knew it, he hit me.
"I grabbed on to his leg ... and he put his weight on me and my knee hit the ground. Before I knew it, the police officers were grabbing me and choking me."
Douglas said he wanted to file charges against Alexander at the arena but didn't get any cooperation from officers who told him that Alexander had taken a lot of abuse.
"They said he can file charges against me, too," said Douglas. "But I didn't do anything.''
Alexander said Sunday that he was hit on the back with a cup and found Douglas in his face when he turned to see who'd thrown it. He said Douglas refused to back off.
Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace, who watched the interview, said he is not worried about the Douglas's promise to file charges.
Wallace said that he wishes the matter would die down because too much publicity about it could stir further problems this week at Selland Arena.
The WAC men's tournament begins on Thursday.
Hawaii will play Southern Methodist prior to the game between Fresno State and Texas-El Paso.
"The more they (the media) do here, the more likely you got a problem coming up," said Wallace who reaffirmed his support for Alexander.
Wallace said last night that WAC commissioner Karl Benson had called him. Benson told Wallace he is coming into town today and will take statements from witnesses of the fight.
Two other Rainbow players, Lane O'Connor and Troy Ostler, were struck by fans as they passed through a narrow, roped-off corridor between the court and the locker room. Fans converged on both sides of the corridor and reached in at the players after Hawaii's 79-69 loss to Fresno State.
Assistant coach Scott Rigot said he was poked in the face by someone's finger.
"They just need to clean up that situation down in the corner and that's easy to do," said Wallace.
Alexander's right wrist and thumb were taped during practice yesterday, but there was no indication from the trainer that it was as a result of the fight.
Ka Leo O Hawaii