By LESLIE ANNE DOMINIQUE
Earlier today the Boston Celtics issued a statement concerning a two-year suspension of a fan that used racial slurs against Golden States Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins.
The incident occurred on Jan. 26, during a game where the Warriors faced the Celtics in Boston. A fan murmured a racial slur at Cousins while he was on the court. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, “During that game, there was a fan who muttered the n-word at DeMarcus Cousins.”
Cousins then went on to inform the security team and they took care of the fan. The fan, who was a minor, was ultimately removed from the game. Over the last two months, the team has held an investigation surrounding the incident, interviewing fans, officers and other witnesses.
This morning the Celtics finally released a statement in regards to the situation. Based off of the evidence, the team has decided to issue a two-year ban on the perpetrator. According to the statement, “the punishment for any corroborated discriminatory language used towards any player, employee, or fan at a Celtics home game is a lifetime ban.”
Earlier this week Cousins made a statement claiming that he has been referred to as a n-word on multiple occasions by fans. In a report that he made with Yahoo! he says, “It’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back and I was still punished for it.”
It doesn’t just stop there. Cousins is only one of many African American basketball players who have experienced similar cruelty from fans. Marcus Smart, a shooting guard on the Celtics, expressed disappointment about the incident in a conversation with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. In the pregame statement, Smart stated “I’ve dealt with a lot of things, here in my own city, and out of this city … I get it. I’ve seen it. I’m not surprised, and it has to be fixed, plain and simple.”
Let’s not forget that just earlier this month; Russell Westbrook was all over the headlines when the Utah Jazz permanently banned a fan who belligerently mocked him with racial references. In Westbrook’s situation he raised controversy in his rebuttal to the offensive comments. However, Cousins argues that “our emotions are the same as yours. You somewhere walking down the street and someone says something crazy to you, you’re going to react.”
It appears that the NBA is making moves to hold fans more accountable for their inappropriate behavior at basketball games. These players are too often taunted by heckling, racial slurs etc. and are expected to remain calm. This is an issue that must be regulated and dealt with accordingly.
This story has been majorly reported by all of the top news networks. It seems that majority of the stories hold the importance of protecting athletes and holding fans accountable. This story also made television airwaves, being reported on CBS Sports, ESPN and many more networks.