On Monday, the NBA fined Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley $25,000 following an investigation into an incident that occurred between Beverley and an Oklahoma City Thunder Fan during Game 3 of the series.
During Game 3, which was played in Oklahoma City, Beverley attempted a layup and was knocked to the floor. He ended up at the feet of an OKC Thunder fan who was later identified as Stuart Scaramucci. Stuart, the son of Thunder minority owner Jay Scaramucci, yelled something at Beverley as he lay on the ground. Beverley got up and pointed at Scaramucci while complaining to referee Scott Foster. When the game was over, Beverley addressed Scaramucci briefly before his teammate Sam Dekker pulled him away.
Prior to Game 4, Beverley addressed the investigation and recounted his side of the story. “I’m OK with the hazing. I’m OK with the boos. I’m OK with other fans rooting for their team. But I’m not OK with the blatant disrespect while I’m on the ground after a foul and a fan is yelling out to me, ‘F-you Patrick Beverley, F-you Patrick Beverley, F-you Patrick Beverley,’ and waving a clapper in my face…I’m not comfortable with that. So if the NBA won’t protect the players in that situation, I feel the need as a man, as a grown man who has children, who has morals and who stands up for the right thing, I have to protect myself.”
It’s true that a certain amount of taunting or ‘hazing’ (as Beverley described it) is to be expected at sporting events. However, how far is too far?
Beverley went on to say, “I felt like I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I felt like 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.”
When asked how Scaramucci responded, Beverley said, “He shrugged his shoulders like, ‘Whatever.’ … His wife puts her finger in my face.”
Beverly went on to clarify what disturbed him about the encounter saying, “And when I mean ‘protect myself,’ I don’t mean go up there and start a fight with a person, because that’s not what all happened. I walked up to the guy, and I told the guy, ‘At the end of the day, brother, this is a game. I’m a professional. You’re a man. I’m a man.’ That’s it, and I left it at that. No curse words, no pointing fingers. I just let him know, ‘Just don’t do something like that.’ I have my son, he’s 2 years old back in Chicago watching this, my daughter watching this. Enough with the blatant disrespect.”
According to an article by Fred Katz, provocateur Scaramucci talked to The Norman Transcript and alleged that Beverley touched him and his wife after the game. Because of course, they would make allegations. The NBA made no mention of any physical contact and this allegation remains unfounded.
It looks like the NBA has a little soul searching to do. Basketball players are people, too.