Charlotte Bobcats’ Stephen Jackson Apologizes to Fans For His Suspension

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  — Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson sent a letter to fans on Friday apologizing for his ejection and ensuing one-game suspension for verbally abusing a referee.

Jackson's letter was e-mailed to season-ticket holders and posted on the Bobcats' website hours before he was to play against New Jersey in his first game since his punishment.

Jackson, who has become the face of the NBA's crackdown on bad behavior this season, said he let his teammates and coaches down, "but more importantly, I let our fans down."

"In my heart, I know I have to adjust my emotions on the floor and I vow to work harder than ever to not put myself or this team in that situation again," Jackson wrote.

Jackson was suspended without pay after his first-quarter ejection Saturday against Milwaukee for verbal abuse of referee Eli Roe and failing to leave the court in a timely manner. Jackson missed Wednesday's loss to New Orleans.

Last month, he was fined $50,000 for verbal abuse of the officials after a loss to Detroit in which he was assessed a technical foul by referee Steve Javie.

Before the season, the NBA sent out a video to teams showing behavior toward referees that would no longer be tolerated. One of the first clips was Jackson flailing his arms and running after an official.
The new regulations have been tough on Jackson, whose six technical fouls are tied for the league lead. That doesn't include one technical that was later rescinded by the league.

"I understand the rules that the NBA has established to govern players' behavior on the floor and I respect the job the officials have each night," Jackson wrote. "NBA players are bigger, faster and more athletic than ever, so being able to call a perfect game each night and see every foul is tough, and I have to take that into consideration."

Jackson has a history of volatile behavior. He served a long suspension for his role in the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004. He has clashed with coaches and in 2009 served a one-game suspension while playing for Golden State for getting his 16th technical foul of the season.

Jackson was traded to Charlotte early last season and helped the Bobcats reach the playoffs for the first time. He's averaging a team-high 18.1 points this season.

"As a co-captain, I have to lead by example and I feel it's my obligation and commitment to this team to carry out those responsibilities," Jackson wrote. "I hope to continue bringing you memorable moments on the court and not for my behavior."

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