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News » Maccabi Tel Aviv apologizes for coach's behavior

Maccabi Tel Aviv apologizes for coach's behavior

Maccabi Tel Aviv apologizes for coach's behaviorNEW YORK (AP) - The president of Maccabi Tel Aviv has apologized to the NBA and the Knicks for its coach's behavior during an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden.

Pini Gershon, the coach, also said he was sorry in letters that were sent Monday to league commissioner David Stern and Knicks president Donnie Walsh, and seen by The Associated Press.

"Having had time to reflect on my actions while our team was in New York, I would like to apologize to the New York Knicks franchise, the NBA and basketball fans not only at Madison Square Garden but throughout the country," Gershon wrote.

"Our trip to the U.S. was for a wonderful cause - the children of Migdal Ohr - and hopefully a few minutes of bad behavior on my behalf won't detract from all the good that was accomplished by our spirited competition with the Knicks and the Clippers."

The game in New York benefited Migdal Ohr, the world's largest orphanage. Maccabi Tel Aviv visited the Clippers two nights later.

Gershon received two technical fouls and was ejected in the third quarter of an Oct. 18 loss to the Knicks, but refused to leave the court, as rules specify. The game was delayed about eight minutes before Gershon agreed to leave, with Rabbi Yitchak Dovid Grossman, the founder and dean of Migdal Ohr, coming on the floor to ask referees to let the coach stay.

In his letter, Maccabi Tel Aviv president Shimon Mizrahi thanked the NBA and the Knicks for their hospitality, and said Gershon should have left the court immediately instead of arguing with the officials.

"We also join in apologizing, because behavior of this sort is not at all representative of our basketball club," Mizrahi wrote.

The NBA confirmed that Stern received the letter.

"The apology was unnecessary - and accepted," Stern said. "We have only the highest regard for Maccabi Tel Aviv, their ownership, coaches, players, and our longtime friend Shimon Mizrahi."

The Knicks did not comment.

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Added: October 27, 2009


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