Crowds are finally back in NBA arenas – with a wave of bad fan behavior
NBA fans have been ebbing in arenas during the playoffs.
The presence of human buyers of tickets and goods, who have been missing for more than a year during the coronavirus pandemic, has been a welcome sight for the short of money league. Players loved feeding on the excitement of the live audience.
But recently, the excitement turned into bad behavior. There has been a wave of ugly incidents from fans directed at players.
For one night, the unit
Tuesday night, in fact, offered a moment of unit between NBA players and fans.
In a playoff game between Portland and Denver, Portland star goaltender Damian Lillard was transcendent. He scored 55 points and set an NBA record of 12 three-pointers. Including one to put the game in overtime, and another to force the double overtime.
His performance in the Portland loss brought together astonished fans and players on social media. Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant captured the mood, Tweeter : “… I’m seriously at a loss for words.”
Ironically, it was Lillard, the astonishing and unifying, who spoke ominously days before about what divides the league. The fans go after the players.
“Something is going to happen to the wrong person”, Lillard mentionned, and it’s not going to be good. ”
And this time Irving Durant’s teammate was do not at a loss for words.
“When you come to these games,” Durant said, “you have to realize that these men are humans. We are not animals. We are not in the circus. Coming to the game is not just for you. as a fan. So have a little respect. for the game. Have a little respect for these human beings. And have a little respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud if you threw water bottles away on basketball players, or spitting at players or throwing popcorn. and enjoy the game. ”
The overwhelming majority of fans enjoy the game and don’t cause any problems. But what gives the few who have acted?
A return to normal, and more
“I have two competing assumptions to consider,” Sam Sommers said. He chairs the Department of Psychology at Tufts University and co-authored the book “This is your brain on sports.” “An assumption is, honestly, a return to normal.”
After 15 months of no sporting events, says Sommers, we are reminded of what can happen, and possesses has happened over the years, when you mix the excitement and fervor of competition, sometimes fueled by alcohol.
The other hypothesis?
“We also see,” Sommers said, “a little bit of the pent-up energy, the angst, whatever we want to call it. [it], it has just accumulated during this confinement, this quarantine period and people not being able to go and do what they want in the world of sport. When you think of somebody growing up in a restrictive environment with a lot of rules and regulations and coming out of that home and sort of going crazy, and sowing their wild oats and maybe we see them too. ”
Race could also be part of the problem, particularly in the NBA, where most of the players are black and many fans are white.
The league has a long story of African-American players being subjected to racist taunts. It happened in one of the recent incidents, involving several fans in a Utah Jazz playoff game and the African-American parents of Ja Morant, a star player of the opposing Memphis Grizzlies.
Another inescapable fact, says Sommers – all of this is happening in the context of a fractured and angry country.
“We are talking about sports here,” he said, “but we are not that far removed from some pretty violent, angry and aggressive interactions outside and inside our US Capitol, and the speech at this level is very marked. ”
Free tickets and excuses
In one declaration, the NBA said that “an improved fan code of conduct will be rigorously enforced,” and that it includes additional safety measures.
Fans involved in the recent incidents have been punished. All were banned from the arenas and the Boston Bottle Launcher was also arrested.
In Utah, Jazz owner Ryan Smith is providing free tickets, lodging and car service to Ja Morant’s family and a few friends for Game 5 of the playoffs on Wednesday night.
Smith has already apologized publicly, Tweeter “we are embarrassed and sorry.”
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