The Lakers have been hosting viewing parties at Staples Center for the away games during the Finals where they play the game on the Jumba Tron. It beats being squished between beer-bellied bar regulars at Barney's Beanery. I was planning to go to watch Game 6 there and write a story about it, but the viewing party has been canceled due to security concerns. Apparently there was a brawl or two at Game 2 between some Celtics and Lakers fans and now the Lakers are calling the whole thing off. Here's what the Lakers PR said:
Fights break out all the time at games and the brawlers are quickly kicked out. Games don't get canceled. This is Los Angeles, folks. This is a city that films movies on the streets of Hollywood, hosts rock concerts, red carpet soirées and events on an hourly basis. If any city can handle safety at large events, it's L.A. Has L.A. become too stingy? Will more events in Hollywood be canceled because L.A. doesn't want to foot the bill for security?
"After meeting with law enforcement and city representatives, we have agreed to not open STAPLES Center for a public showing of any upcoming playoff games from Boston. Because of concerns for resources needed to ensure the safety of fans throughout Los Angeles on nights when the games would be played as well as potential financial burdens on various City departments, we came to this decision. On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, we encourage all of our fans to enjoy the upcoming games with friends and family and celebrate the championship run in a safe, responsible and respectful manner."
What a disappointment. I would understand if they canceled the viewing party because nobody was showing up, but they've had a strong turnout. Are they saying the L.A. police department can't handle the security? Law enforcement has handled events with ten times as many people. Perhaps they didn't want to secure the event because they couldn't get any police officers to work tonight. Don't be surprised if you see a few cops at Barney's Beanery checking out the game.