What’s up with these unruly fans?
Last week, three NBA players were assaulted by alleged fans. What can and should be done to ensure that players are protected? Should players be prevented from reacting to taunts and cheers from fans? We will take a look.
What did the pandemic do to some of these fans? Throwing popcorn, spitting and throwing water bottles is just the latest of the assault attempts in Week 2 of this season’s playoffs.
These people don’t remember the “Malice au Palais”?!?! A plastic cup thrown at Pacers forward Ron Artest in Detroit caused the ugliest and most violent fight between fans and NBA players. Are these playoffs going in the same direction?
There have been some nasty things done by some who call themselves fans. This is not how you express your loyalty or love for your team. In my opinion, it just shows stupidity.
Popcorn Frenzy in Philly
These outrageous attacks began in the first round playoff games of Week 2. I do not understand. The Sixers won this game. Washington star Russell westbrook was injured and helped off the pitch to get to the Wizards’ locker room. A Sixers fan decided to throw his popcorn at Westbrook’s head. If the security guards hadn’t held Westbrook back, I’m afraid there would have been “malevolence” at Wells Fargo Center.
Security removed this fan from the arena and received an indefinite ban from Wells Fargo Center. But is it enough?
A rowdy crowd and a spitter at MSG
I’ve been a die-hard New York Knicks fan for over fifty years. I admit that I had a few choice words for Young Traé watching the game at home. But “F— Young Traé“I have to admit that was a bit too much. Even for a crowd in their first playoff game in eight years. Yes, he answered the crowd. Maybe that prompted them to continue their assault. But that didn’t give a fan the right to spit on him.
I couldn’t believe it, and I was in denial until the Garden released the following statement:
We investigated the matter and determined that this customer, who is not a subscription holder, did spat on Trae Young, and for this reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. It was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our room. We have forwarded the information to the appropriate authorities.
This young man kicked our ass after that and didn’t stop. Was spitting on Young really worth it? Atlanta most likely eliminates the Knicks in the first round. Too much crowd noise sometimes hurts your own players.
The NBA’s response
The NBA released a statement the day after the incident:
The return of more NBA fans to our arenas brought a lot of excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is essential that we all show respect to the players, officials and our fellow fans. An improved code of conduct will be rigorously enforced to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.
The NBA Players Association added this:
Respect our Players. Respect our Game.
What??? That’s it? I think if offenders knew that they would be arrested, charged and face jail time depending on the offense, they might think twice.
A bottle that flies in Boston
Are Boston fans serious? They knew the Big 3 Brooklyn Nets would beat an injury-ridden Boston team. I know some Celtics fans are hurt by things Kyrie Irving done, wise or said about them. Naturally, there is ill will towards Kyrie on the part of the Boston devotees.
Throw a bottle of water at his head? Come on people. No matter how badly your team loses, if a player hasn’t come into the stands and got a hold of you, keep your hands or whatever you have in your hands!
As the crime escalated, so did the punishment. The name of 21-year-old “fan” Cole Buckley has been released. The young man was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Oh yes, he was also banned for life from TD Garden.
It was only the second week of the playoffs. This is only the first round. Perhaps being in their 40s, not attending games, and needing a vaccine before returning to the arena has negatively affected some fans. What we are seeing is not acceptable.
Part of the blame goes to the players. They should also have thicker skin and not react to taunts from fans.
It has been a crazy season. Let’s relax and enjoy the rest of the playoffs. It had been a long time since some of these teams made the playoffs. Some players on our teams have a lot of work to do this offseason. There is always next year.
Violence is no way to thank players for all of their hard work.
A fan runs the field in DC
Just as this article was about to be published, a new event in the unruly fan saga took place.
In the third quarter of Monday night’s fourth game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards, a fan runs down the field. Fortunately, there was nothing he could do thanks to the security of the arena, which pinned him to the ground.
I will have a follow-up with the regular NBA takes this week.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy.