Isaiah Thomas‘ actions may have been justified, but there was no way the league was going to let him slide on this.
Isaiah Thomas has been suspended for two games, without pay, for going into the stands Saturday night to confront a fan, the league announced on Sunday.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 22, 2019
Thomas explained his actions after the game, “When I missed the first free throw, and made the second, I’m running back and the fan has both of his middle fingers up, and said ‘F*** you b****’ three times. So then the timeout goes and I go in the stands to confront him. I say, ‘Don’t be disrespectful, be a fan’ and his response was, ‘I’m sorry I just wanted a frosty.’… I’m not stupid, I’m not about to go in those stands and beat somebody up, I was raised better than that. (The 76ers run a promotion at the Wells Fargo Center where if an opposing player misses both free throws in the second half of a game the fans get a coupon for a free Frosty from Wendy’s.)
The NBA’s explanation of the suspension said Thomas’s reasoning didn’t matter. From the NBA’s statement:
“NBA rules state that any player who deliberately enters the spectator stands during a game will be automatically ejected and subject to a fine and/or suspension. This bright-line rule is intended to prevent altercations or other hostile interactions between players and fans, for the benefit of both, and is therefore enforced even in circumstances such as these when the encounter between Thomas and fans did not escalate.”
The two fans have been banned from the Wells Fargo Arena for a year, and the season ticket holder who transferred the pair the tickets has had his season tickets revoked (he was refunded money for the unused future tickets this season).
This move is going to hit Thomas in the wallet.
2 game suspension will cost Isaiah Thomas $32K.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 23, 2019
The league has come down hard on everyone involved here to try and send a message (like a stern parent with an unruly child). Thomas gets hit hard to make sure players know what happens if they venture into the crowd. The fans were banned in part as a warning to other fans thinking of yelling obscenities or personal things at players.Follow @basketballtalk