The Boston Celtics issued a statement Friday that detailed the banning of a fan who allegedly used racial slurs while verbally abusing Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins. According to the statement, as seen below, the Celtics banned the fan from all games for two years.
Celtics release a statement on fan who received a 2-year ban after incident with DeMarcus Cousins. pic.twitter.com/UbRV53zvb9
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) March 29, 2019
During their Jan. 26 game this year, the fan allegedly hurled racially charged verbal attacks at Cousins. The Celtics launched an investigation into the incident, per organizational policy, and concluded that although they couldn’t confirm the use of racially discriminatory language, they did confirm that the verbal abuse happened. Had they been able to definitely conclude the fan used racial slurs they would have levied a lifetime ban against the fan.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the story, Cousins told him this was not the first time that Celtics fans had used racial slurs in their verbal attacks against him. Haynes added that the league had only recently informed the Golden State Warriors of their punishment, and that hopes the league will be more proactive in keeping teams informed of these situations.
News of the incident broke just weeks after a similar incident occurred between Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook and a fan of the Utah Jazz. The Jazz subsequently banned the fan for life due to what they called “degrading and offensive conduct.”
The interactions between fans and players in the arena are finally being given a closer examination by both the league and its organizations. To sit so closely at a professional basketball game is a spectacle, but it’s also a privilege. Fans need to be better about not abusing that privilege, or better yet, the players they’ve come to see perform. I’m happy to see the Boston Celtics take such a strong stance against verbal abuse and racism in the TD Garden. If I’m being honest, it’s long overdue.