Joe Ingles On Recent Fan Behavior: It’s Not A Circus

May 31, 2021, 2:44 PM
Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)...
Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS – When did purchasing a ticket to an NBA game also buy fans the opportunity to insult, verbally abuse and even assault the players on the court or their family members in the stands?

For the fourth time already this postseason a fan chose to vent his anger towards a player in an abusive manner. A Celtics fan threw a bottle, narrowly missing Kyrie Irving’s head after the Nets beat the Celtics on Sunday 141-126 to take a 3-1 series lead. That fan was removed from the arena and arrested by Boston Police for throwing the bottle.

Last week three other incidents involved Hawks guard Trae Young being spit at by a Knicks fan, Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him by a fan in Philadelphia, and three fans at Vivint Arena were kicked out and banned from the arena after verbally assaulting Ja Morant’s family with racist and sexually explicit remarks, the second time in two years a fan has been banned from the arena for unwarranted behavior.

When is enough, enough?

“It’s not a circus,” Joe Ingles told KSL Sports from FedEx Forum on Monday. “You can’t get out there and throw things at us. We realize we are in a privileged position with the money we make and the life we get to live but it doesn’t give you permission to throw things at the athletes or staff or whoever is out there on the court.”

Ingles played four seasons in the EuroLeague before making it in the NBA. Fans overseas have been much more hostile than in the NBA, known to throw objects and players and coaches that cause serious physical harm.

“One of my teammates got a coin in the forehead and it was bleeding at halftime,” Ingles recalled from his days in the EuroLeague.

But does that excuse the behavior we have seen over the past seven days in NBA arenas?

“What if something doesn’t hit the player and it hits one of the ushers or something like that that’s there making money to pay their bills as well,” Ingles said.

Ingles is in his 7th season with the Utah Jazz and is grateful for what his career in the NBA has provided for him. He knows that much of that is a result of fan support. And that’s just what he wants. The support of him and his teammates, not the disrespect and abuse of the visiting side.

“We appreciate them paying money and buying tickets to come and watch and support,” Ingles said. “If you’re a Jazz fan go to the game and support the Jazz, support me, support Donovan (Mitchell), support whoever you want to support but if you don’t want to support Memphis or another team then just don’t say anything.

“The whole throwing thing I think is ridiculous and I think is completely unnecessary and hope those people get dealt with however the league deals with those situations, hopefully harshly. Hopefully the people in Utah will go and just watch the game and support us and cheer for us and scream for us but you don’t need to do anything else with anyone else or any other family members or people that aren’t on your side or team. Hopefully we can clear it up because we enjoy going out there and playing for fans and having fans back but there has got to be a line that doesn’t get crossed as well.”

Win or lose in Memphis on Monday night, the Jazz will return to Vivint Arena for Game 5 on Wednesday. Lets hope Jazz fans will passionately support their side while also showing great respect to the Grizzlies players and those who support them.

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