The relationship between fans and players has been a major point of discussion this postseason. Both Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving have been fined for giving road fans the middle finger in these playoffs alone, and now, Chris Paul is dealing with a somewhat similar situation.
A fan in Dallas was ejected from Game 4 of their second-round series between Paul’s Phoenix Suns and the Mavericks, and as he was escorted out, Paul was seen on video saying “I’ll see you later” to him. It is too early for the league to have issued any discipline at the moment, and it is unclear if they will do so.
While it wasn’t clear at the moment why Paul was so upset, Dave McMenamin did his best to explain it after the game. He reported that a Dallas fan put his hands on Paul’s mother and that his wife was also pushed. Paul’s children were also in attendance, and according to McMenamin’s source, “they felt very unsafe.” Paul echoed those sentiments on Twitter after the game. “Wanna fine players for saying stuff to the fans but the fans can put they hands on our families….f*** that!!” Paul wrote.
Paul is the former president of the NBA Player’s Association, though his term has now concluded. How exactly the league and the union could go about fixing these issues is unclear, but the past few seasons have seen a number of high-profile incidents of fan misbehavior. A fan in Boston threw a water bottle at Irving in the 2021 postseason. Others have been accused of racist speech towards players. It has become one of the bigger problems in all of basketball, and while fans are getting ejected for it, players often face discipline for merely responding. Paul is clearly frustrated with that state of affairs, and if the league won’t give players room to respond, it needs to do a better job of preventing these incidents from ever occurring.