Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Verbal Abuse?

You are being issued a warning that the comments, gestures, and/or behaviors that you have directed at players, coaches, game officials and/or other spectators constitute excessive verbal abuse and are in violation of the NBA Fan Code of Conduct. This is the first and only warning you will receive. If, after receiving this warning, you verbally abuse any player, coach, game official or spectator, you will be immediately ejected from FedEx Forum without refund.

At first I thought this was a joke.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. An official handed this to a well-known caller on Memphis sports radio, and noted referee critic, 'Louisville' Richard at the Charlotte Game on Monday night.

Now it was St. Patrick's Day and I am sure Richard had his 'Irish' up sitting courtside for the game but I have had the joy and amusement of sitting next to him many times over the years and he never uses profanity or derogatory names or gestures. He does give refs a hard time but it is always meant to be funny not abusive. I would describe him as humorously insulting at best.

What is happening here? Are fans not supposed to abuse the opponents, refs, etc in an attempt to influence actions on the court? Isn't that the basic reason some teams have a home court advantage over other teams? Isn't the team begging people to come out to games so we can have the home court advantage other teams enjoy?

And what is the NBA Fan Code of Conduct anyway?

I looked in the NBA Rulebook and there is no mention of such a code. I did a google search and did find this however from
Guests will enjoy the basketball experience free from disruptive behavior, including foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.

So I guess the key deterimant is what do you feel is abusive. Is making fun of Damon Jones' smurf mohawk haircut abusive? Is calling Drew Gooden 'Osama' because of his beard abusive? Is saying a referee's mother is ashamed of the call he just made abusive? Could you imagine a card like this being handed out at Cameron Arena (Duke)? Those crazies are nuts about their team and often times use off-colored chants to get under refs and opposing players skins.

People complain that the atmosphere at NBA games isn't the same as in college games. I guess we have one explanation now. They throw you out if you get to rambunctious.

BallHype: hype it up!


Rick said...

The bad part about that game was that the arena was almost dead silent in the first and second quarter. Conley made a turnover and missed a shot or two. Then during a Grizzlies free-throw attempt, you distinctly heard Louisville Richard say 'Navarro, take the ball from Conley, he don't know what to do with it!' at that point Juan Carlos turns to Conley and tapped his hand as if to say 'don't worry about that.' That was just one of his comments. Now in the majority of NBA arenas that comment would not have been heard by the officials due to the crowd noise but you could hear an ant fart in FedEx Forum before the Grizzlies put a little distance between themselves and the Bobcats.

ChipC3 said...

I definately believe a louder stadium environment would drown out a lot of the inappropriate comments but I still believe that fans have the right to say things like that even if they are insulting as long as they aren't obscene or inflammatory.

Richard doesn't make obscene comments. He does give the refs a really hard time however.