An argument between Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and his girlfriend at the popular 1 OAK nightclub in the Chelsea section of Manhattan early Wednesday precipitated a fight in which the former Knick and two women were stabbed, police said.
Investigators said that Copeland, 31, and girlfriend Katrine Saltara, 28, were arguing loudly as they were leaving the club on West 17th Street at about 3:58 a.m. when a man identified by police as Sheroy Bleary-Murdoch, 23, intervened.
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Copeland and Bleary-Murdoch then got into their own argument outside the club, at which point Bleary-Murdoch allegedly slashed Copeland, according to police.
Saltara and a woman identified as Catherine Somani, 23, also were cut in the fight, apparently accidentally, according to police.
After police arrived, two Atlanta Hawks players, Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha, who were in town in advance of Wednesday night's game with the Nets at Barclays Center, allegedly hindered police as officers tried to secure the scene, officials said.
Antic, whose name in court records was spelled "Antikj," was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration, while Sefolosha was hit with the additional charge of resisting arrest, according to a criminal court complaint. They were released on their own recognizance Wednesday.
The Hawks said Antic and Sefolosha would not play against the Nets Wednesday night.
Defense attorney Alex Spiro of the firm Brafman & Associates said the pair didn't commit a crime, shouldn't have been arrested and expected the case to be dismissed.
Antic and Sefolosha released a statement on their arrests that read in part: "We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time. We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them."
Before last night's game, Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer said, "We're very supportive of our players. I think that you never even want to put yourself in a position where you can bring negativity to yourself or the organization or your teammates, but they're great guys and right now, I think it's most important to support them."
He added that the team had no curfew and had no intention of instituting one.
Bleary-Murdoch also was arrested and charged by police with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according the NYPD. He was awaiting arraignment late Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Copeland and Saltara were taken to Bellevue Hospital. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Copeland had surgery on his elbow and abdomen and will remain in the hospital for a few days. Saltara was treated and released, according to police. Somani was also treated and released, police said.
Copeland played for the Knicks in the 2012-13 season, averaging 8.7 points. He signed a free-agent contract with the Pacers in 2013.
Larry Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations, told The Associated Press that the team was aware of the incident. A spokesman for the NBA said, "Our thoughts are with Chris and those injured."