The Hawks are spitting mad.
A Knicks fan who was captured on video spitting on Hawks star Trae Young in the course of the fourth quarter of Game 2 of their playoff sequence has been banned indefinitely from Madison Square Garden, in keeping with a press release launched by the Knicks. The 76ers ejected and banned a fan who dumped popcorn on Wizards star Russell Westbrook throughout their sequence.
“The response by the Knicks banning him, I hope that lasts a long time, if not forever,” Hawks guard Kevin Huerter mentioned. “Same with the fan in Philly. These fans, if you take away the barriers and take away security and you are face-to-face with an NBA player and you think you are going to do something like that, I doubt it’s going to go your way. People have to remember that.”
“We, in our society now, feel we can do and say anything we want,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan mentioned. “I think some people feel because they paid for a ticket they have the right to say and do what they want. It doesn’t give you the right to do that. You see this all over the place. Things that people say to each other and the disrespect that people show each other. It’s not just something that’s happening in sports.”
Hawks ahead John Collins has “gotten into fights” throughout youth basketball video games right through highschool over spitting incidents.
“It’s unacceptable, to be nice,” Collins mentioned. “I wouldn’t say I had the easiest upbringing as a child. I saw some other tough kids in my life who thought spitting was cool and we tussled over it because my mom raised me as a young man to not accept B.S. – and that’s total B.S. to me.”
The Knicks’ assertion solely recognized the fan as a non-season-ticket holder and apologized to the Hawks and to Young.
“This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue,” the assertion learn. “We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.”
Young was not obtainable Thursday for remark.
“I have spoken to Trae about it,” McMillan mentioned. “He was just shocked. His focus and his attention is on the game, but he did see that and was really surprised that something like that happened.”
The Hawks’ main scorer tweeted a video at rapper 50 Cent, who was sitting in the neighborhood of the loogie, with the commentary “Damn … Crazy! @50cent y’all good?!” and three laughing emojis. The saliva appeared to hit 50 Cent’s girlfriend, health influencer and mannequin Cuban Link.
A senior legislation enforcement supply instructed The Post that Young and Link each declined police involvement and won’t be submitting costs.
“New York did what they should’ve done in that situation, stepped up and took action,” McMillan mentioned. “It’s uncalled for and shouldn’t happen.”
The 6-foot-7 Huerter, a local of Clifton Park outdoors of Albany, mentioned his father and different members of the family have been identifiable Hawks followers in the Game 2 crowd.
“They definitely had some words, had some boos,” he mentioned. “Kind of what they expected going to an away game like that with that intensity. But they are all good. They are big guys – bigger than I am – so they’ll be fine.”
Two incidents on the identical evening raised flashbacks of then-Pacers ahead Ron Artest charging into the stands to battle a Pistons fan who threw a drink at him in 2004, and the bigger query of whether or not the NBA does sufficient to make sure participant security.
“I feel like we definitely are protected and we definitely have infrastructure in place for us to be safe,” Collins mentioned. “But you can only go so far as to what another individual has planned. You can’t read minds, right?”
Huerter recommended solely season-ticket holders – with extra accountability and belief – be given courtside entry, however the 76ers fan was a season-ticket holder.
“A lot of this is how they handle situations like this and the response, I think, speaks just as loudly as the prevention,” Huerter mentioned. “Us gamers, we would like followers in the sport. We need them near the courtroom. It’s the ambiance we grew up dreaming about and desirous to play in.
“If you lay a pretty heavy precedent and ban these people for life from these arenas if they are going to do something like that, I would hope people think twice. There’s no really no other response warranted, in my opinion.”
— Additional reporting by Justin Terranova and Joe Marino