The Dallas Mavericks evened their series with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night with another impressive win at home in Game 4, but the performance of the Mavs, headlined by an 8-for-12 night from Dorian Finney-Smith from three-point range, was unfortunately dampened by the news of an altercation in the stands that saw a Mavs fan put his hands on Chris Paul’s mother and wife.
Paul left his press conference early in an effort not to get fined and then sent out a tweet about the incident, still fuming over what happened. Not long after, word emerged of the incident, with some video of the aftermath coming out on Twitter and leading to further discussion about fans crossing the line with their words and actions towards players and their families. While the Mavs released a statement noting the fans in question were quickly removed from the arena when the incident was brought to their attention, the larger issue is that fans don’t seem to see an arena ban (which seems very difficult to actually enforce) as enough deterrent to keep them from crossing the line with their conduct.
The discussion made its way over to the TNT set, where Charles Barkley once again made his pitch for a solution to problems with fan conduct, in which they get brought to center court and have to say whatever they said from their seat directly to the player, who has five minutes to respond however he sees fit.
BARKLEY: “Just give me 5 minutes on the center court with him & say, ‘You ain’t gonna press no charges, nobody gonna be sued civilly, say what you just said to me right to my face, right here for these 5 minutes & Imma beat your a**.’”pic.twitter.com/XNSbWG3U16
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 9, 2022
While it’s not something that will ever happen, Barkley is right that if players were allowed to fully confront fans, you would probably see a sharp decline in these sorts of incidents taking place. Part of the issue right now from the players side — and one Paul noted in his tweet — is that they get fined for responding to fans with the same language they’re hearing, while fans aren’t beholden to the same standards. That is understandably frustrating, and until the league figures out how to enforce the same kind of no tolerance policy for fans, players will continue to grow tired of these incidents and wish privately (or in Chuck’s case, publicly) that they could handle things physically.