News that the Cleveland Cavaliers have banned a fan they say directed racially insensitive remarks at San Antonio’s Patty Mills reminded me of an occurrence in Salt Lake.
In the 2007 NBA playoffs, the Jazz were playing the Golden State Warriors. The Jazz won the series 4-1. After one game at EnergySolutions Arena, the Warriors’ Stephen Jackson claimed he was racially taunted by Jazz fans. No perpetrator was found.
Later that week, I was with several media members, discussing whether we believed the event actually happened. Jazz players said they didn’t hear anything. Jackson’s history with the police didn’t make him a terribly reliable source.
At the same time, out of 19,911 fans in an arena, there are sure to be idiots.
Regardless of what happened that night, it surely has happened in every arena at some point. In that light, it’s refreshing to see Cleveland do something assertive. This should be standard practice. Letting fans go forward with racist taunts is not only hurtful to the victims, but to the fan bases themselves.
One imbecile can open the door for the false characterization of 20,000 fans at a game.
The Jazz’s guest conduct rules say: “Vivint Smart Home Arena is committed to creating a comfortable, enjoyable and safe sports and entertainment experience. Vivint Smart Home Arena management reserves the right to remove any guest whose conduct is deemed inappropriate, unruly or detrimental to the enjoyment of guests around him/her. If you observe any guest behaving in such a manner, please contact the nearest Guest Services or Event Security team member.”
That should cover everything.
Buying a ticket never did indicate fans can behave in any boorish way they want. Those who believe otherwise will just have to take it outside. Permanently.