Well, it’s safe to say that Draymond Green won’t be endearing himself to NBA fans any time soon.
According to the Golden State Warriors forward, NBA players who respond to fans’ bad behavior — as Russell Westbrook did earlier this week to a Utah Jazz fan — are punished much worse than a fan who is disciplined.
Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:
“Because our penalties get worse,” Green said. “So if I’m like someone who’s probably not as happy with my life and I’ve got an opportunity, where I’m going to someone else’s place of employment and I know if I say something crazy to them and they say something back they lose money, misery loves company. So I think our penalties are raised and blasted to the world, people will keep doing that. Because at the end of the day, what do they really lose? But our families lose money out of our [pockets] that we provide. I think as long as that happens, [fans] will continue to do it. It is what is, I guess.”
Green continued with his thoughts by saying that as long as the league fined players for responding, things won’t change.
“Like I said, I think as long as the league continues to fine players for saying something back when there are people completely disrespecting [them], it will always happen,” Green said.
Westbrook was fined $25,000 for responding to a heckling fan and his wife during the Thunder’s game at the Jazz on Monday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The fan has been banned from attending future Jazz games. The Jazz also took further action by suspending a second fan who had heckled Westbrook during the Jazz’s 2018 playoff series versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Green explained why fans heckle players in the first place:
“It’s crazy. I guess it’s just the nature of what we do, I guess. I don’t really understand why grown men get off by coming into someone else’s job and saying bulls—. I guess that’s their way of letting out frustration in their life, but it’s kind of stupid to me.”
While fans “crossing the line” will continue to attend NBA games, there’s no doubt that teams have given those aforementioned fans a future warning — basically, if you continue to harass players, you will be barred from attending future games.
It’ll be interesting to see how this affects fan interactions with players moving forward in the future.