Fan behavior in the NBA has become a problem since the playoffs began, with several incidents occurring in different cities.
It has prompted discussion on what’s acceptable behavior for fans as well as whether or not players are receiving enough protection.
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green argues that the league should have already been protecting the players.
“Now, you see all these incidences, where there’s actual spit, or there’s a water bottle this close to Kyrie [Irving]’s face or there’s popcorn poured on [Russell Westbrook], then it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, maybe we do need to protect the players,’” he said on ‘The Big Podcast with Shaq.’ “No, you should have been protecting the players.
Shaquille O’Neal said that unruly fans have always been a part of the game and that he enjoyed the back-and-forth and trash-talking with fans. But Green said that players cannot get away with that anymore.
“If we say something like that we get fined,” Green said. “I think that’s the biggest issue. The NBA has taken it so far left to where, if a guy says, ‘F—k you,’ and you say ‘F—k you’ back, you get fined. It’s like where is the protection of the players?”
Green added while there are repercussions for the players, the punishment for fans seems to be too light.
“And when you took it so far left to where a fan goes, ‘if I can come to the game, and I can get Shaq, I can get Draymond, I can get Steph Curry, or whoever to get mad at me and say something back, he loses money,’” Green said. “What’s the worst thing that may happen to this fan if I get into screaming match with the fan? He gets removed from his seat? … Not only is there no protection of players, you also give all these guys face time. They’re on TNT…ESPN, getting their five, 10, 15 seconds of fame. And the only punishment is oh, you can’t come back to the game. Who f---ing cares?”
While most of the aforementioned incidences have included lifetime bans, the fan who threw a water bottle at Irving appears to be facing the harshest yet as he was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The fan who ran onto the court during the Wizards-76ers game, who was tackled by a security guard, was also brought up as part of the conversation.
“What it’s gonna take is somebody get their ass kicked,” Green said. “And then somebody will respond.”