Chinese basketball player Liu Wei is suspended for 10 games and fined 50,000 yuan (US$7,300) on Friday, December 5, 2008. [Photo: sportsphoto.cn]
Shanghai Sharks players Liu Wei and Cai Liang were suspended for 10 games and fined 50,000 yuan (US$7,300) each for their involvement in a post-match attack on an opposing player on Friday.
The suspensions, which followed a four-hour hearing, marked the heaviest player punishments in the 14-year history of the China Basketball Association. Liu and Cai will be suspended until December 26, according to a report on Sina.com.
Team captain Liu and Cai were accused of attacking Yunnan Honghe player Gabe Muoneke, formerly of the NBA's Utah Jazz, in the corridor of Honghe Stadium in Kunming City after a November 28 game that the Sharks lost 107-97.
The alleged assault occurred about 10 minutes after the game while Muoneke was with his wife and three children.
A witness said Cai threw a bottle of water at Muoneke, and Liu and other teammates cornered the Yunnan player. The witness said he could not see what happened next as players blocked his view. But he said he heard Muoneke's wife scream.
Videotape footage of the incident, which lasted about a minute, reportedly supported the witness's version of events.
Muoneke suffered a slight arm injury before security guards separated the players, the report said. There was no immediate word on what caused tempers to flare.
A Honghe spokesperson said the suspensions and fines were "fair," while a Sharks representative said the punishment was too severe but that the club would accept it, according to the report.
Liu is also captain of China's national team and a friend of Yao Ming, who is now a star player for the NBA's Houston Rockets.
The Honghe game marked the eighth straight defeat for the Shanghai Sharks since the season opened. Muoneke currently leads the CBA in scoring.
It was the second time Liu has been punished by the CBA. He was fined 10,000 yuan on December 1, 2004, for a fight during a game.