NBA will need to take drastic measures to protect players
The NBA has a serious issue on its hands currently. And unfortunately, the perpetrators are the very people the NBA was desperate to have back: the fans.
Whether it’s a fan addressing Ja Morant with a racial slur, someone spitting on Trae Young, or people throwing and dumbing objects on Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving, fans have been tripping this postseason. Heck, there was even another incident last night during the Wizards-Sixers game.
Like, did anyone see that idiot run onto the court to touch the backboard?
If you didn’t, pull it up on YouTube. It’s quite the sight. When watching it, I began to wonder if the security that took the fan down was a member of the Washington Football Team.
Since the initial incident of a fan dumping popcorn on Russell Westbrook’s head, unsavory actions from the fans are taking place daily.
Thankfully, neither the fans nor players have received injuries. However, how long will it stay that way? How long will it take before one of these players channel their inner-Ron Artest and go molly whop a fan on sight?
More testing and COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available.
The NBA has begun to allow fans to return to the arenas because of that. And thank the heavens. After basically being on house arrest (in a sports fan’s sense), you’d think some of them would have common sense. Like, wouldn’t they be excited to come and enjoy the game?
As these incidents continue to happen and escalate, the league will have to step in and do something.
Protecting the players should be the first option. They are the product.
People pay to see them. Fans pay for their jerseys. They don’t pay to see Cole Buckley chuck water bottles at Kyrie Irving’s head. And they damn sure don’t pay to watch some idiot spit on Trae Young.
Whether it’s putting up plexiglass near the player entrance/exit tunnels, putting up a mesh net of some sort, or even removing fan attendance again, something has to shake.
In my opinion, there are several reasons why these fan incidents are taking place. Firstly, there’s the racial/social justice aspect. Last season, the NBA was not shy about its stance on social justice. They were very “in your face” with their position. Whether it was the “Black Lives Matter” symbols on the court, the message on the jerseys, or the players speaking out, some fans had a problem with it.
It was evident. With that in mind, in the case of Ja Morant (and possibly Trae Young), I feel those were guys who were just ready to spew some hatred at players.
Secondly, there’s the Kyrie Irving fiasco. The way he was stepping on “Lucky,” the Boston Celtics logo, was a big deal. He did it after the Celtics-Nets matchup out of frustration, which was obvious. It’s probably why Cole Buckley, the Boston Celtics fan, threw a water bottle at his head.
While Irving did indeed do something disrespectful, Celtics players, not fans, should be the ones to handle that situation.
The bottom line is that the NBA cannot afford to have any more lousy situations based on idiotic fans’ actions. If one (or two) more incidents occur, I expect the NBA to take drastic action, whatever that may entail.
Otherwise, the sports world might witness another “Malice in the Palace,” and this time, I’d expect the results to be a lot worse. And that’s for the players, the fans, and the NBA.