Jason Whitlock: “I have a problem with the one-game suspension handed down to Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. It exposes a bias and an unfairness that damages the NBA. It reinforces the fact that fans no longer matter. Why do I say this? Because 24 hours before Green lightly stomped on the chest of Sacramento Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Russell Westbrook confronted a Phoenix Suns fan inside a lounge at halftime. Westbrook cursed at and menaced the fan in front of a child. The NBA has taken no action against Westbrook. They're ‘investigating’ the situation allegedly. The lifeblood of sports has long been the fan. The fan buys the tickets, the jerseys, the concessions, the TV league packages, and whatever else sports leagues sell. The fan is the customer, and in a long ago America the customer was always the highest priority. That has clearly changed. The player is now the highest priority. The fan is taken for granted. The Draymond Green controversy and the Russell Westbrook non-controversy proved my point. The NBA disciplined Draymond Green because it is concerned with protecting the players. The NBA won't do anything except maybe a harmless fine to Russell Westbrook because it has no interest in protecting fans. Who is more worthy of protection: fans or players? I believe the fans are. Sabonis is paid millions of dollars to step between the lines and compete with Green.Occasionally, temperatures are going to flare and the physicality will cross the line. It's expected. I have no problem with the NBA making every effort to curtail violence between players. Draymond has a history of dirty play and cheap shots. It makes perfect sense for the league office to suspend Green. He's not a first-time offender, he's a habitual line-stepper. In a statement justifying the suspension the league mentioned Green's history of violence and histrionics. Let's remember, Green started this season by punching and injuring teammate Jordan Poole. But why does the NBA have no passion for protecting fans? Russell Westbrook has a long history of conflict with paying customers. At some point you have to realize Westbrook is the common denominator in all the conflict, or do you believe every NBA fan is a closet racist? Do racists now spend thousands of dollars to sit courtside and support primarily Black NBA players? Does the NBA have no interest in curtailing conflict between fans and players? It would be a mistake to normalize players confronting fans inside lounges and areas reserved for customers. The NBA’s inaction on fan abuse speaks loudly about what the league thinks of its paying customers. They're an afterthought. A league that once promoted itself as ‘Fan-tastic-‘ is now ‘fan-phobic.’ During the 1980s a big part of the league's marketing highlighted the fan experience. All marketing now is about the players’ experience. The NBA caters to elites. The most entitled elites inside an NBA arena are the players. They've been pampered and coddled since age 10. They're overly sensitive and they demand to be treated as royalty because of the money they earn playing a game. What's worse is the media justifies the players’ narcissism and entitlement. They applaud Westbrook for clapping back at hecklers. The media identifies with the athletes far more than the fans. This is a ramification of social media and the injection of female broadcasters in the men's sports. Media members have hecklers too. Most of the hecklers hang out on Twitter. I get the instinct to lash out with the so-called ‘haters’, they're difficult to ignore. But it's far wiser and appropriate to ignore them than combat with them. It takes a level of maturity and thick skin to ignore hecklers. Let me be real here. In 1998 when I was a-31 year-old columnist for the Kansas City Star my employer suspended me for two weeks for engaging in a taunting match with New England Patriots fans. I was seated in the front row of the press box and Patriot fans began heckling me. I scribbled clever one-liners on a sheet of paper and held them to the window. I was having fun but it was inappropriate. I got the punishment I deserved. A decade later I covered a Kansas vs. Kansas State basketball game at Bramlage Coliseum.The entire crowd thought I hated K-State, and head coach Frank Martin, and unfairly favored Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. When I walked into the arena to take my seat the entire crowd booed and taunted me. It was the wildest thing I'd ever experienced as a sportswriter. K-State fans heckled me throughout the game. Fans stared daggers through me. I never responded to any of it. Fans could do whatever they want. They don't have to like me, they don't have to say nice things to me. It's all ironic now because Frank Martin has become one of my favorite coaches and he's one of my favorite people on the Earth. Most sports media members are every bit as soft and entitled as Westbrook. They despise fans. They think fans are stupid. They're secretly hoping Westbrook beats up a fan. Me? I hope Westbrook runs up on the wrong fan.” (Full Segment Above)
Watch Jason Whitlock of ‘Fearless’ call out and blast the NBA for not suspending Russell Westbrook for his ugly encounter with a fan in a courtside suite during halftime of Game 1 of the Los Angeles Clippers' first round series with the Phoenix Suns.
Check out the segment above as Whitlock explains why the NBA is now ‘fan-phobic’, and lets an 'entitled narcissist' like Westbrook threaten a fan for simply calling him 'Russell West-Brick’ for his infamously poor shooting touch, and face zero suspension for it.