In the wake of the Adam Jones incident in Boston’s Fenway Park, there has been a lot of discussion about racial taunts of players at sporting events, and what teams can and should do to fans acting like racist pigs.
Draymond Green has some thoughts on that.
I know, he has thoughts on everything, but what he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated has a lot of validity, plus gives you a players’ perspective on what is going on.
“I’ve gotten the N-word, all of that. I’d rather not get into [where]. A few places, especially being that it is me. Athletes are just not protected in that regard. Maybe something like [the Adam Jones incident] will help,” Green told The Undefeated on Tuesday night before the Warriors’ 106-94 win over the Utah Jazz in the opener of their life second-round playoff series…
“Cheer for your team. Do what you want. But if I’m playing in the game and you’re cheering for your team, it doesn’t give you the right to say whatever you want to say to me,” Green said. “This is my job, and I can’t go to your job and say whatever I want to you. If I went to someone else’s job and said whatever I wanted to say, I’d get arrested for harassment. It’s a fine line. I don’t think any league does a great job of making sure that athletes are protected.
“The fans are great, but at times I think the leagues empower hecklers to say whatever they want to us. We are in a position where if you naturally react, you’re screwed, you’re losing money. But there are great fans out there, and all fans shouldn’t be put in that category.”
A couple of thoughts here. First, while there is a little of “you paid for the ticket you can say what you want,” there also is the common sense line here: If a fan goes to a game and yells “Draymond, you suck” it is very different from using the N-word or, to use an easy example, yelling something rude at Isaiah Thomas about his sister. For those latter things, a fan should be ejected.
Teams and arenas need to police this better.
Second, as a practical matter, it’s hard to stop someone who wants to come to the game and be an a——. Even if teams caught the most egregious of hecklers, threw them out of the building, and said they were banned for life, keeping them out of the building in the future is difficult. Your name isn’t on your ticket (one could use a fake name anyway), and the NBA isn’t going to use fingerprint ID/facial recognition software at games to weed out hecklers. It would take the fans of a team coming together to identify hecklers crossing the line and calling them out.
Basically, we just need people to be better and more respectful of one another. Lately, that has seemed in short supply in this country.