It seems like it’s happening daily: Professional athletes are getting in the faces of fans who’ve been taunting them.
The latest player to approach a fan was the Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin during a game on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It happened with just 20 seconds left in overtime of visiting Detroit’s 129-123 victory, and it’s not clear what the fan said, but Blake wasn’t having it.
“What the f— you say to me?” he said, while a teammate held him back.
Then other Pistons players got into it with the fan as well, and the referees ran over to intervene. The fan was then removed from the stands and was escorted out by security.
Just last month, Kevin Durant had a similar incident, but, unlike Griffin, he got fined for responding to someone taunting him. “Shut the f— up and watch the game,” Durant told the guy.
It’s been happening a lot in football too.
On Sunday, for example, the Los Angeles Rams’ cornerback Marcus Peters approached a fan after being heckled. And during a Dec. 10 game in Nashville, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette got into a heated exchange with a man who he said called him a racial slur.
NBA legend Charles Barkley was asked about the recent spate of high-profile dust-ups between players and fans, and he advised players to walk away.
“You have nothing to gain,” he said. “First of all, most of the fans are amazing, but there’s a certain fan base that are crazy, and you just got to walk away.”
“They would never say that to you and fight you in the streets,” added Barkley. “But if you hit them you’re going to lose a lot of money. Also, if you hit a fan and hurt them you might kill them. I don’t want to sound morbid … But the main thing is, man, you got to just walk away.”
You can see the exchange between Griffin and the fan below.