Poor fan behavior should be at or near the top of the list of things that should never go back to normal once this pandemic is truly over. We are slowly but surely recovering from probably the most traumatic worldwide experience of the last century. Old friends are reuniting. People are starting to gather again.
This is certainly true in the sports world. Teams are welcoming back fans and the camaraderie we lost more than a year ago is returning. However, two separate instances in two separate NBA playoff games on Wednesday remind us that forced isolation did not foster greater appreciation in some people.
During the Washington Wizards – Philadelphia 76ers contest, Wizards guard Russell Westbrook was walking back to the locker room area after suffering an apparent ankle injury when a fan dumped a box of popcorn on his head from the stands above. The 76ers have since revoked the fan’s season tickets and banned him from attending any future events at Wells Fargo Center.
The other incident was just gross. A New York Knicks fan actually spat on Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young as he inbounded the basketball. That fan, while not a Knicks season ticket holder, has been banned from Madison Square Garden indefinitely.
To be clear, these weren’t kids. NBA Season tickets are not cheap, particularly the ones near the player tunnel. The fan who spat on Trae Young was seated directly behind 50 Cent and Sting. In a bit of well-deserved irony, the police are investigating.
Young people are often criticized for having a sense of entitlement. The same criticism can be levied on some adults as well. You can’t do whatever you want because you bought a ticket, even if it’s an expensive ticket, even if it’s an expensive ticket for a seat behind 50 Cent and Sting.
With Covid being brought under some degree of control, maybe it’s time to start focusing on some of our character ailments too.