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Kings apologize to Detroit, throw Leland Patton under bus

It's one thing to just apologize, and it's another to take out full-page advertisements to do so:

Although the Sacramento Kings apologized Wednesday for displaying negative images of Detroit during pregame introductions, the NBA began an investigation into the incident that could result in fines.

Before the Pistons beat the Kings, 102-88, Tuesday night at Arco Arena in Sacramento, fans were shown a montage of negative images of Detroit on the scoreboard above center court. They included abandoned buildings, boarded-up houses, burned cars and piles of construction rubble.

. . . snip . . .

Kings president John Thomas saw the video for the first time live from his seat.

By halftime, he had pulled the tape for a private screening and began the process of finding out how it happened. By Wednesday afternoon, the Kings had purchased full-page newspaper ads to issue a direct apology to Detroiters.

"The Sacramento Kings sincerely apologize to" (Pistons owner) "Mr. Bill Davidson, the entire Pistons organization, the fans, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and the people of the great city of Detroit," the ad -- which appears in today's Detroit News and is scheduled to run in Friday's Free Press -- reads in part.

Thomas also e-mailed Pistons president Tom Wilson to offer his plea, and Gavin and Joe Maloof -- the brothers who own the Kings -- called Saunders to offer an apology.

"This isn't the way we do things," Thomas said. "I can tell you that after this grievous error, we have deep, deep regret. We're reviewing all our systems so that this will not happen in the future."

On Wednesday, Joe Maloof told the Sacramento Bee, "We're sick about it. It was unfortunately a stupid idea."

Through their organization's quick and decisive actions, the Maloof Bros. seem sincere, as does this John Thomas fellow, who, as it turns out, was born in East Lansing and lived in Metro Detroit. But who was actually responsible?

[Thomas] also said no one would be fired for the incident, including Leland Patton, the Kings' director of event presentation.

"We're not going to fire the individual," Thomas said. "He is distraught today, like we all are, but he's in bad shape. He feels horrible emotionally."

Poor Leland. I'm sure he just feels horrible right about now. How about you give him a call at work (916-928-3615) or drop him an email ( to cheer him up? (Thanks, Kings contact page!)

Kings say they're sorry for slamming Detroit's image [Detroit Free Press]