Patrick Beverley Says the NBA Needs to Control Fans
During games, NBA players are best advised to avoid interacting with fans. Some friendly conversation is permissible, but it doesn’t take much to warrant a hefty fine from the NBA.
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley learned this fact the hard way after his exchange with a fan at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Friday. Beverley tried speaking with the irate fan, but the league nonetheless decided to slap a $25,000 fine on him for the incident.
Beverley wasn’t thrilled, and he addressed the situation before Game 4 of the Rockets’ playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“My thoughts about the fine is exactly this,” said Beverley. “If the NBA won’t help protect players in situations with fans, I’m okay with the hazing, I’m okay with the boos, I’m okay with the other fans rooting for their team. But I’m not okay with them doing disrespect while I’m on the ground after a foul and a fan yelling out to me: ‘F— you, Patrick Beverley! F— you, Patrick Beverley! F— you, Patrick Beverley!’ and waving a clapper in my face.”
That seems like a legitimate reason to get upset, but Beverley managed to keep his cool, opting instead to politely remind the fan that they’re two grown men at a sporting event.
“I’m not comfortable with that. So if the NBA won’t protect the players in that manner, I feel the need as a man, as a grown man who has children, who has morals, to stand up for the right thing. I have to protect myself. I felt like I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I addressed him and said, ‘At the end of the day, this is a basketball game. This is a game. I’m a grown man. You’re a grown man. Let’s just keep it professional.’ Just like that. There’s no need for blatant disrespect. And that’s all.”
The NBA doesn’t do much about fans taunting the players. Unless security is sitting on top of fans 24/7, they won’t do much about the common heckler. It’s up to the players to keep their cool.
In this case, Beverley did that, but the fans didn’t care. It wasn’t the first exchange that warranted the $25,000 fine, however. After the Game Three loss, Beverley again approached the fan, and this time it was significantly less cordial. Referee Scott Foster had to walk Beverley away.
“He shrugged his shoulders like, ‘Whatever.’ His wife puts her finger in my face. But I accept the $25. That’s okay. At the same time, if it happens again and the NBA won’t protect its players, I feel the need as a person, as a man who has two young boys, who has a daughter, who has strong morals about myself, who’s been raised by a single mother, to protect myself if no one else is going to protect me.”
As Beverley hinted, the $25k fine is like $25 for him, but no player likes to shell out their hard-earned cash for something stupid like this. It turns out the fan is the son of an owner. Did that impact the league’s decision to fine him? Beverley isn’t even going to ask.
“I really didn’t want to talk to the NBA because we have an early game today. So I wanted to get that out and stay focused, on-track.”
The Rockets won Game Four to take a 3-1 series lead over the Thunder, so I’m sure Beverley will get over the fine. The moral of the situation survives, though: the league needs to better protect players from fans and fans from themselves.
Even Texans defensive end J.J. Watt admitted that Beverley got him riled up enough to want to get on the court too like many other fans.
“The guy was just absolutely killing it,” Watt said. “His intensity is the best. I was setting there on the sidelines getting fired up, wanting to get in the game.”
Watt actually thought about rushing on the court for a brief moment in the third quarter on Sunday night to stand up for Beverley. It came when 7-foot Thunder center Steven Adams knocked the 6-1 Beverley to the court on a hard screen just a few feet away from Watt’s seat.
“He just has a way of getting you fired up,” Watt said. “He is like the Wolverine out there. He’s fearless. I love the way that guy plays, and it was just fun to watch that guy put on a show.”