RICHARDSON CONT'D:

The Italian basketball federation suspended former NBA star Micheal Ray Richardson five games for starting a brawl that led to the record ejection of 12 players and seven team officials. Clemon Johnson, ex-Bullet Frank Johnson and Stefano Rusconi were suspended two games for their part in a free-for-all in Varese.

"This is a black page for basketball, maybe the worst I've seen in my 40 years in the sport," said Cesare Rubini, an official of the Italian national team.

It raised speculation the career of Richardson, 35, in Italy might be over. Last week he had threatened to break his contract with Knorr Bologna and join the Philadelphia 76ers.

The fight, finally broken up by riot police, occurred during the closing minutes as Knorr played Ranger Varese. Knorr was left with only three players to finish the game, won by Ranger, 91-73.

BLUE CARPET:

Charles Barkley was summoned yesterday to see Horace Balmer, NBA director of security, at the league's New York offices. Officials are upset at the Philadelphia star recently making light of wife-beating. Also, when the 76ers played in New York recently, Barkley had a profane shouting match with a fan, and several league officers were in earshot. . . .

Monday, L.A. Laker James Worthy saw NBA officials in New York to discuss his Nov. 15 arrest in Houston for investigation of solicitation of prostitution.

"An important part of that meeting was to hear James's side," said Lakers assistant GM Mitch Kupchak.