Renaldo Balkman loses cool, banned

Updated: March 12, 2013, 11:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman has been banned from the professional basketball league in the Philippines for grabbing a teammate around the neck during a game Friday.

The former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets player also has been fined about $6,100 (250,000 Philippine pesos) over the incident, Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud said in a statement on Monday.

It was not immediately clear whether Balkman's ban is permanent.

Balkman, who was playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters against the Philippines-based Alaska Aces, assaulted Arwind Santos while his teammate tried to stop him from venting his frustration at a referee's decision. During the break in play, Balkman bumped a referee, pushed one teammate and then shoved Santos. After Santos pushed him back, Balkman grabbed his teammate by the neck before he was pulled away by more team members.

Balkman took to Twitter to make an apology to Santos.

"I would like to apologize to @arwindsotnas a person who I truly respect and would never intentionally harm, my actions were irresponsible," Balkman tweeted.

In a second post, Balkman tweeted, "I accept all responsibilities for my actions while playing an intense game, I have truly enjoyed my time here playing in the Philippines."

Salud said he took into consideration Balkman's past record as a player, which included a head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between his Puerto Rico side and Venezuela.

"I also took into consideration Balkman's evident disregard for local and the host country's sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate, who was trying to pacify him," Salud said.

"I do encourage passion for the game, but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behavior, he will be made accountable," Salud said.

Balkman, 28, pushed away his other teammates and one of his coaches during the game, which the Boosters went on to lose 83-73.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.