After Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 by the league for responding to a heckling Miami Heat fan with a gay slur, Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth cleared up Miami’s policy on ejecting fans for unacceptable behavior during games. Our own Ira Winderman has the report:
In light of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah being fined $50,000 by the NBA for shouting an anti-gay slur to a fan during Sunday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami HeatPresident of Business Operation Eric Woolworth said Tuesday similar action by a fan would result in an ejection.
The league, meanwhile, said it is a matter that would be handled on an incident-by-incident basis, with teams taking the lead in such actions.
“In general,” Woolworth said before Tuesday’s Game 4, “they’ll get one warning and then they’ll get thrown out.”
But Woolworth said the anti-gay slur Noah utilized or a racially hurtful barb from a fan would receive less tolerance.
“They most likely would be asked to leave right away,” he said.
When Stu Jackson was asked about the NBA’s policy regarding fan behavior, he said that the “general approach is a warning and an ejection,” and said that a fan “could be” ejected immediately for using a hateful or racist slur.
Booing at opposing players and calls that go against your team is part of the fun of attending a sports game, but buying a ticket does not give you the right to say anything you want to anybody you want, especially if your comments are hurtful or derogatory. It’s important that we don’t lose focus of that in the wake of the Noah controversy.