Stadiums just started allowing a larger attendance, and already the NBA is having problems. In the past week, there have been three instances in which fans stepped over the line. All of which ended with some form of banishment from their respective arenas.
A Sixers fan dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he left the game due to an injury.
Russ got heated after a fan threw popcorn at him pic.twitter.com/XyMRUxUVwc— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 27, 2021
A Knicks fan attempted (and failed) to spit on Trae Young. Given the fact that we’re now just coming out of a pandemic makes this all the worse. Some have even claimed Trae Young should file assault charges.
Lastly, and maybe most disgusting of all, three Utah Jazz fans blatantly harrassed Ja Morant’s family. According to Ja Morant, the comments ranged from sexual to racist in nature. Tee Morant, Ja’s father, said one of the fans told him, “I’ll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.”
Thankfully, none of them got away with it, but many would argue the NBA must do more.
Since the Malice in the Palace, NBA players are forbidden to enter the stands. If you ask Metta World Peace, the player who started it, he’ll tell you himself it wasn’t worth it. So if players can’t defend themselves, and teams like the Knicks aren’t permanently banning fans for spitting on or at players, how can players feel safer? The answer might be more simple than you think.
Dear Fans, Stay in Your Lane
There’s plenty of ideas that’ve been thrown around on social media over the past week. Maybe most notably was FS1’s Shannon Sharpe, who claimed the NBA should just let the players put their hands on fans. But among all the crazy and good-in-theory ideas, let’s face reality. It is not the NBA’s job to police fans and what they do. If they were all children, I would think otherwise, but most of, if not, all of these incidents involve adults.
It’s one thing to boo or tell a player they suck. But when the insults cross racial lines or involve items being thrown, it’s no longer fandom.
Just because you paid a pretty penny for your seat doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Just because athletes get paid a tremendous amount of money doesn’t mean you get to disrespect them. You paid to watch them play, nothing more, nothing less. Cheer for your team, boo the other, but at the end of the day, be respectful. That shouldn’t be hard to understand, but clearly, for some, it’s unfathomable.
It’s quite disheartening to see fans already causing trouble when at this time last year, stadiums were empty. You’d think fans would be on their best behavior, but apparently, that’s not the case. I guess they were cooped up inside a bit too long.
NBA Players Are Fed Up
“This s— is getting out of hand, especially for me. The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f— they want to do. It’s just out of pocket, man.”— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2021
—Russ after a fan poured popcorn on him in Philly pic.twitter.com/NLvjg8fg3S
By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the 👟 was on the other 🦶🏾.🎥 #ProtectOurPlayers— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 27, 2021
Tristan Thompson makes a statement. pic.twitter.com/EW1XoOMxsw— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 28, 2021
“Fan” may be short for “fanatic”, but that’s where it ends. If you wouldn’t say or do it to a player’s face, you know it’s wrong. Whether it be the NBA, NFL, MLB, or whatever league allows fans to attend, they should all remain civil.