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Adam Silver: NBA has ‘zero tolerance’ for incidents of fan misconduct

NBA commissioner made it abundantly clear in comments this week that the league stands strongly against the kind of behavior seen during the NBA playoffs that involved ugly incidents of fan misconduct.

In a stunning spate of fan misbehavior in just the last few days, fans have been banned from arenas due to three separate incidents involving the Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook, Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young and Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant during road games at Wells Fargo Center, Madison Square Garden and Vivint Arena, respectively.

The Philadelphia 76ersNew York Knicks and Utah Jazz swiftly reacted to the unacceptable fan behavior by indefinitely banning the perpetrators from their arenas.

In an interview with Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington published Friday, Silver strongly condemned the kind of fan impropriety seen this week and pledged the league’s full commitment to maintaining player safety.

“Zero tolerance,” Silver said. “No one is going to get away with an act like that. You’re going to be caught. You’re going to be banned from an arena. In some cases there may be criminal prosecution depending if the conduct rises to that level of an assault or something that the police are going to take note of.”

Silver’s remarks reinforce a statement issued by the NBA on Thursday that laid out in no uncertain terms that fan misconduct will not be tolerated.

The NBA’s Fan Code of Conduct, which is linked in the NBA’s tweeted release, can be found here.

It’s clear that the NBA takes incidents like the three that occurred this week very seriously. Silver doubled down in further remarks to stress as much and to reinforce how anyone participating in unacceptable behavior will be caught and punished accordingly.

“It’s critically important because, while of course we’re thrilled that fans are able to be back in our arenas, to get out of their homes to share this experience with others, we’ve gotta demonstrate that there is zero tolerance for that sort of behavior. I recognize it’s a minuscule percentage of fans, but they also can destroy the atmosphere for everyone who’s there,” Silver said. 

“Then, of course, it’s our job to protect the players and the coaches and the officials. We want to make sure everyone knows it is zero tolerance. If you engage in that type of behavior, you will be caught particularly because even if it’s not recognized at first, there are so many cameras in all of our arenas now that no one is going to get away with that kind of behavior.”

The hope has to be that the condemnation of such acts and the punishments enforced inspires any potential bad actor to think twice before crossing the line and engaging in such boorish and intolerable behavior. Having Silver lay things out so clearly will be taken as a positive development by the league’s players, many of whom understandably have expressed outrage over what occurred this week.