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Popovich calls for league to crack down on sideline activity after injury to Stephen Jackson

Jan 6, 2013, 4:00 PM EST

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Getty Images

Stephen Jackson suffered an injury in Thursday night’s loss to the Knicks that was completely avoidable. And Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, as you might imagine, was none too pleased.

Late in the first quarter after taking a three-point attempt from the corner, Jackson’s momentum carries him slowly backward and out of bounds. A waitress taking an order from courtside fans was crouched down in the exact spot Jackson was headed, and inadvertently tripped him, causing him to leave the game and not return.

Speaking about the incident before his team’s win over the Sixers on Saturday (which Jackson was forced to miss), Popovich called for the league to do something about the issue.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

“It’s maddening,” Popovich said of the incident in which Jackson lost his balance after running into a waitress during the first quarter of the Spurs-Knicks game. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Popovich expressed confidence the incident would spur the league to better control the sidelines during games.

“After what happened, I have no doubt the league has contacted teams to make sure everybody shores up their discipline in that area,” he said. “It’s obvious people shouldn’t be ordering beers or Cokes or hot dogs when the game is going on.”

The policy on wait staff serving courtside customers likely varies from arena to arena, in terms of when they should or shouldn’t be taking orders and delivering them. But the sideline areas are much closer to the court than say, the photographers along the baseline, so it’s more dangerous to have someone in that location, especially in a low position like that while the game is being played.

The baseline photographers are a similar hazard that should be looked into while the league is at it. But despite the long list of injuries to players who’ve tripped over either a camera or person sitting on the floor under the basket, there’s been no change to the distance between the court and where those photographers are allowed to be stationed.

The sideline thing seems like a much easier policy for the league to get its head around, so hopefully this injury to Jackson can further the cause to put a spotlight on player safety, and force the powers that be to put some stricter rules on the matter in place.

  1. doctorfootball - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    This whole thing could have been avoided if Popovich had sat down his older players. After all, this was their 4th game in 5 nights.

  2. dunkindan - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    We can’t take away the sideline activities. This may not be as “Entertaining” and “Business Like” to David Stern.

  3. imthewiz77 - Jan 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I sat courtside at the sixer’s opener and the waitress took the order from behind us. Seems to make a lot more sense.

  4. savvybynature - Jan 6, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Duh. And why does a courtside server need to be kneeling down to “service” the mayor anyway?
    At the least, if people absolutely have to order a soda in the middle of the game, the servers should stay on their feet so worst case scenario they get ran into instead of tripped over (they also would be in better position to actually get out of the way).

    • skids003 - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:32 AM

      I guess the jerk mayor Bloomberg had to get another 16 oz drink. Ban him!!!

  5. nmking26 - Jan 6, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    All they need is to have the wait staff take and deliver orders from behind the seats. Sideline seats have a lot of room behind them so there’s more than enough room for wait staffs to use instead of serving orders right next to the sideline.

  6. yousuxxors - Jan 6, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    idk how much room there is but cant they just serve from behind the seats?

  7. drewzducks - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Somewhere Larry David is smiling.

  8. mazblast - Jan 6, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Little Caesar won’t do anything. It’s only a Spur that got hurt, not someone from Miami, Boston, or the Lakers. Popovich will be lucky to not get fined for complaining.

  9. blarry21 - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    At least he is still on a winning, veteran team in San Antonio…

  10. sportsnut101 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    I work as waitstaff in arenas. Yes the best thing is take order from behind seat but it depends on arena to. Sumtimes there’s no room because the team of the arena wants to have as many court side seats n close as possible

  11. magicbucs - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    @mazblast
    You’re correct, if it was a heat or laker stern would be dictating food/drink ordering policy in the big market team arenas. He doesn’t care about small market players getting hurt.

  12. bobby2478 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I agree about the camera people causing the biggest threat to injury. People drive the lane hard and you have all the camera men lined up just feet from the court, if you’re really concerned with injury to players then these guys should get moved back too. Give the players a little bit of room to run out of bounds without all the crap lined up just a foot or 2 away, it’s an injury waiting to happen. Like you couldn’t bump them back 5 feet and give the players some room.

    Otherwise trying to do anything with servers taking drink orders is just theater.

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