Booing Trae Young is fine. Using his name in a profane chant is in poor taste but tolerable. But spitting on him?
The NBA and the Knicks sent a clear message Thursday that there is a level of disrespect that they simply will not take from their fans. The Knicks banned a fan indefinitely after a viral video showed him spitting on the Hawks superstar during the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's Game 2 at the Garden.
"We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely," the Knicks said in a statement. "We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities."
The Knicks were not the only team to take action Thursday against a fan for poor behavior during a playoff game. Philadelphia also announced that they were revoking the season tickets of a fan for dumping a container of popcorn on Washington guard Russell Westbrook as he was headed into the tunnel.
"We’re just living in a society where people don’t have respect anymore," Hawks coach Nate McMillan said Thursday. "In no way should that be allowed, or should that happen, at a sporting event or really any event ... I think New York did what it should have done in that situation. It’s uncalled for."
The NBA issued a statement Thursday morning pledging to "vigorously" enforce its code of conduct for fans. "The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans," the statement said. "An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."