In the NBA, it is very rare that a player can take a knee, lock arms with his teammates and not have things get heated. At least it’s rare, and the last time it was a major topic of conversation was in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election when then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced her support for the protests that began in NFL stadiums around the country.
To be clear, the NBA can’t be held accountable for the actions of anyone on the court, but they can and have made efforts to protect players from such incidents. The league fined the following players for incidents they were involved in on the court with fans:
Despite the disappointment at the lack of fans at the country’s sports venues, there was a very welcome side effect. The players didn’t have the energy to stand in front of a large crowd, but on the other hand, there was no one in the stands hurling insults or anything else at them. One night during the NBA playoffs, shortly after some communities scaled back pandemic precautions to allow more fans to return to the arena, the craziness returned to the seats. Russell Westbrook was only the first target of the night. A few nights later, Kyrie Irving found himself in the crosshairs of an angry fan. It is depressing, to say the least, to think that people who have been unable to attend sporting events for months are celebrating their return by hurling insults at the opposing team’s players.
Russell Westbrook is the first target of a hat trick by Hass
Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook takes a knee after injuring his ankle. | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images In Philadelphia, a fan threw popcorn at the head of Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook. At that point, Westbrook was taken to the locker room to have his injured ankle medically checked. As a result, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Wells Fargo Center revoked the fan’s season ticket privileges and banned him, ABC6 in Philadelphia reported. That same night, social media exploded at Madison Square Garden after a video surfaced of a fan spitting on Tra Young, star of the Atlanta Hawks. The New York Knicks condemned the act and banned the fan from the building. To show that this was not an East Coast affair, the Utah Jazz ejected three fans from the game for a verbal altercation. The family of Memphis Grizzlies quarterback Ja Morant was at the center of the incident. It’s hard to remember three such events in such close succession. But it’s easy to remember similar incidents from decades ago. No, this is not a new phenomenon. He hid for a long time.
. In the 1970s, two incidents of failed team promotions led to the elimination of game officials. The first was in 1974, when the Cleveland Indians lost to the Texas Rangers after their misguided idea for a 10-cent beer turned out exactly as planned. Fans could buy up to six cups at a time, and more than 25,000 people came to Cleveland’s old stadium for the event. Five years later, the Chicago White Sox suggested that fans bring disco records for Disco Demolition Night between games in the doubleheader. But the explosion of a huge case of vinyl records not only rendered the football field unplayable (colossal bomb craters can do that), but hundreds of young people swarmed the crowd. The Detroit Tigers won by forfeit. Chicago police arrested 39 people and injured six.
Players make fans angry, fans make players angry, and so on
. Sport is an exciting hobby. No one is yelling at their favorite team, but doing their best. But there’s a psychology that goes beyond fans cheering for the home team to take a bad turn. Russell Westbrook has found himself in similar incidents more than once. For Kyrie Irving, returning to Boston – the city where he played for two seasons – for a playoff run has stirred emotions. He spoke about the racism he encountered in Boston. Fans came to TD Garden to boo Irving loudly, which is their right. After Irving stomped on the Celtics logo after their fourth game against the Brooklyn Nets, one fan didn’t just boo him. He is charged with assault for throwing a water bottle at Irving as he walked through the tunnel to the locker room, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Did Irving provoke the emotion of the fans? Absolutely. Are the fans stirring up the players’ emotions? Without a doubt. But then we fall into an almost primitive state of wanting to blame someone. It’s mostly the player, because there are more of us (the fans) than there are of them (the athletes). In reality, it all comes down to the oft-quoted precedent of the famous chicken-and-egg case vs.. Both are wrong and both are right. The Toxic fandom has retreated during the pandemic. Unfortunately, as the fans returned to the arenas in greater numbers, the incidents with them returned, some of which crossed the line of bigotry and insult. COMPARED TO: Ty Cobb’s most controversial incident when he attacked a disabled fan