I'm sick of hearing nonsense like the NBA is filled with players who dress like thugs and act like thugs. I'm sick of hearing about how the NBA is "too black" (whatever that means) for its white fanbase. I'm sick of this innocent and accusatory consumerist attitude that unnecessarily criminalizes the players and deflects any blame from loser fans like those in Salt Lake City tonight. A few classless Utah fans took being a sore loser to its absolute low point and started hurdling objects onto the court in the closing minutes of the Jazz loss. It was so bad that in the interest of their safety, Spurs coach Greg Popovich had to stop his players from doing postgame TV and radio interviews and rush them off the court. Props to ESPN's Michele Tafoya for handling that awkward situation so well at the end of the game.
Let's not forget that the Jazz fans haven't exactly been classy this postseason. During their second round battle with the Golden State Warriors (now those are some REAL fans) a few Warrior players reported that the Utah crowd was hurling racial slurs at them. Instead of the sports media and fans criticizing those classless Jazz fans, they instead focused their disdain on continuing demonize Stephen Jackson (who else could get a tech for clapping?), Baron Davis (Fisher flopped), and Jason Richardson (Okur even admitted that he was overreacting) [see Will Utah Be Booming Tomorrow?] and blew their on court play out of proportion.
What will happen to these few barbarian Jazz fans? Just like the majority of those loser Pistons fans that night of the Motorcity Melee- probably nothing. Instead the thug myth laced with thinly veiled racism about NBA players will continue to get perpetuated by the mostly sensationalist and negative sports media and ignorant sports fans, while the real thugs get off with no punishment. The NBA's front office is ridiculously tough when handing out punishments to the players for minor infractions like criticizing the refs, walking a few hundred feet from the bench (Suns fans really deserved better), or wearing the "wrong" kind of clothes. It's time for them to be tough on these loser fans who ruin everyone's experience at NBA festivities. For the next home game in Utah (looks like it'll be next season- Spurs in an easy 5) ban everyone from coming and play in an empty arena. Send a strong message. I doubt anyone in Utah or any other barbarian fan in the league will ever try to throw stuff at the players like that again.
Memo to the Jazz fans: Um, I don't think you guys want to try that when Ron Artest or Stephen Jackson are in town. The results might be a little different.
Final memo to the Jazz and Pistons fans: This ain't a zoo. Do not throw stuff at the players. They aren't animals unlike some of you.
The NBA doesn't have an image problem. The NBA has a fan problem.
UPDATE: Also check out-
- Oh, Those Crazy Utah Fans [LTD Hoops Blog]
- Beer, popcorn shower doesn't bother Spurs [MySA.com]
- Debris thrown at referees, Spurs: Things got so bad that ESPN couldn't interview Duncan [desertnews.com]
- Whining about whistles crosses line [The Salt Lake Tribune]
- Is There Such A Thing As Fan Misconduct? by Etan Thomas [Slam]