Following an incident in which Utah Jazz’s Russell Westbrook and a fan that led to an altercation and ended with Westbook getting fined $25,000 and the fan getting a permanent ban from the Vivint Arena. The NBA was criticized for its response and ultimate handling of the incident by league players, most notably Draymond Green who responded…
“If I’m someone who’s not happy with my life and I’ve got an opportunity where I’m going to someone else’s place of employment and I know if I say something to them and they say something back, they lose money — misery loves company,” Green said. The (more) our penalties are raised and blasted to the world, people are gonna keep doing that. At the end of the day, what do they really lose? Our families lose money that we provide.”
In response, the NBA sent out a memo to their teams asking them to create Public Service Announcements that stress the importance of respect and civil behavior. This is important as sports events, especially big ones such as the NBA often lead to fans who get very passionate and often very drunk. Slurs and derogatory comments are often shouted at the players, including racist, homophobic and sexist slurs and have negative effect on the spirit of sports and the fan experience.
It is an encouraging step the NBA is taking to combat such uncivility, we certainly hope it leads to more proactive efforts to combat such hate in sports.
By Dirk Smith