Players have sounded the alarm in private for years: while the volume of hate speech has increased in society in recent years, players have said they have heard more and more abusive comments from their fans . No heckling about the game, but personal and racist comments.
The Russell Westbrook incident in Utah has had unfortunate consequences (a case that the Jazz handled very well, banning two fans who used abusive and racist language for life).
The magnitude of the problem is a subject of debate. A year ago, when I questioned league officials about it, I received an answer that indicated that the real Apple fans had been eliminated more than other fans / media did. Had realized and that it was not really a big problem.
Draymond Green is not of that opinion, saying that after the Friday training, this happens often. A lot. It's crazy. Green also invited people to do it, and had a boost in the league.
Via NBC Sports Bay Area:
"I guess it's just the nature of what we do," the Houston-based defensive player told Reuters in the year 2017. "I do not really understand why adult men get off by showing up for someone else's job and saying, I guess that's their way of letting their frustration go in their lives.
"A little stupid for me …
"If I'm someone who's probably not as happy with my life … I know that if I say something crazy, whatever they say, and that they lose money – misery loves the company, "he said. "The more our sentences are raised and inflicted on the world, people will continue to do so.
"In the end, what are they really losing? Our families are losing money as we provide them. As long as the league continues to punish players for saying something in return when they are no longer respected, it will always happen. "
Westbrook was fined $ 25,000 by the league for his comments to fans of Jazz, although he came back strong and crossed a line himself. Again, if he had not, would the fan have received more than one security warning card? Probably not. And the question would always be buried.
The NBA and teams are selling players access to those who can afford to pay – this is part of the draw of seats near the courts. Pay enough and you can hear what the players are saying, and they will be within earshot of what you say. But if the NBA must take advantage of this access, it must also protect the players. Green is far from the only player to think that the league and teams have failed on this front.
We will see if the Westbrook Incident Spotlight changes things.