Submited by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
NBA star Le Bron James did what lots of professional players would love to do – he confronted a loud mouth fan during a game on Friday night. James, who recently departed his hometown team in Cleveland to a storm of criticism, was playing an away game in Auburn Hills Michigan against the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, perennial bad boys of the NBA since the days of notorious Bill Laimbeer and kooky Dennis Rodman, are in a hopeless downward spiral this season, while James’ team, the Miami Heat, are favorites to win the Eastern Division.
Apparently, a likely blowout loss wasn’t enough to silence one Piston fan who began a relentless heckle of James during the first quarter of the game, even bringing James’ mother into the off-color rant. That was enough for the 6′ 8″, 250 pound NBA scoring machine who began his career right out of high school.
James confronted the fan saying, “I don’t care what you say to me. I don’t give a [expletive] what you say, but don’t be disrespectful.” According to the fan he was offended by James’ … cursing. (Call me skeptical here).
Shortly thereafter, security came and “counseled” the fan, who was allowed to remain in his seat so long as he didn’t heckle. James’ two young sons were at the game and within ear shot of the vocal fan. The Heat were as good as advertised dropping the Pistons 106-92. Le Bron pumped in 16 points, dished 10 assists, and pulled down 8 rebounds.
I have often wondered about the notion that fans can say in an arena words that would get them cited for provoking an altercation just a few yards away in the street. I am aware of no state that permits criminal acts at a sporting event — such as curse and abuse or provoking violence (so-called “fighting words”) — simply because you buy a ticket. many fans think otherwise, and believe a stub of paper grants them the right to depart civilization during the game.
Things were so bad in Philadelphia that a municipal court was set up in the basement of old Veterans Stadium to handle unruly fans. On the other hand, both the NHL and the NBA have seen notorious incidents where players have taken their grievances into the stands to batter fans with shoes, hockey sticks, and whatever was available.
Buying a ticket certainly grants you a legal license to watch the game. Whether it grants you the right to make an ass of yourself is another matter.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
7 thoughts on “You Pays Your Money And You … What?”
for some fans screaming at players is a cathartic experience that allows them to release the pent-up anger caused by the abuse they take in daily life. Sure its silly and pointless but it is also mostly harmless.
Out here on the frozen tundra, I wouldn’t take my kids to an NFL game after witnessing the drunken, foul mouthed behavior & the new NHL arena is a crappy place to watch a game so I have no idea how bad those fans are. The whole family hates basketball so that is also outside my experience. Baseball can be hit-or-miss, there are often abusive fans but it is pretty rare that they are x-rated.
If someone paid me megabucks to run around in short pants playing childs games I’d make fun of the fans, but I sure wouldn’t bring my kids to the game. But then I don’t have an ego as large as New Jersey.
Which particular one….pot or incest…
I certainly wouldn’t want Le Bron James in my face … bet that fan was lookin’ over his shoulder as he scurried to his car.
It’s just a game. The people who play for big bucks and those who pay those dollars in order to see it need to recognize that one party is doing much better than the other …
I’m just saying I don’t cry myself to sleep over LeBron or the people who dis him. I laugh myself to sleep over those who spend so much on the post-season.
I was going to use that reference, but for once, I thought it through before acting!
Some claim maternal incestuous relations are bad….well…this is kinda like the pot calling the kettle…..
Interesting story Mespo. I would take anything that LeBron does with a grain of salt. He really treated Bulls Fans and Cleveland Fans like dirt when he was making his decision to leave Cleveland. Of course, he forgot to mention that he already had a “deal” with the two other top free agenst to go to Miami. This is the same guy that will trash talk his opponents telling a fan to not use bad language? What’s wrong with that statement. When a player gives the finger to the fans, does he get “counseling” from the stadium authorities? Not to my knowledge, but every once in awhile the NBA will fine the player. He is a great player, but he is also a putz.
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