In the wake of multiple incidents involving players and fans during the first week of the playoffs, the NBA issued a press release Thursday in which the league vowed to more strongly enforce its guidelines for fan conduct in arenas.
“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans,” the NBA said in its statement. “An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”
The press release also linked to the NBA’s Fan Code of Conduct, which can be found here.
As we detailed in an earlier story, Wizards guard Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him by a fan in Philadelphia as he was limping to the locker room with an ankle injury. The Sixers have revoked that fan’s season ticket membership and banned him indefinitely from attending events at Wells Fargo Center.
Additionally, a Knicks fan appeared to spit on Hawks guard Trae Young during Wednesday’s game (link via Bleacher Report), and Jason Quick of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that multiple Trail Blazers players took issue with some Nuggets fans as the team was leaving the court in Game 2. Westbrook and Lakers forward LeBron James were among the stars who called for the NBA on Wednesday to more effectively protect its players.
For much of the season, the league hasn’t really had to deal with policing fan behavior at its games, since attendance has been extremely limited in most arenas across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with restrictions loosening and many teams now hosting 10,000+ fans in their buildings, it has once again become a concern.
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