When Drake stepped onto the court to massage the shoulders of Raptors head coach Nick Nurse mid-game a couple of weeks ago, I was upset. Not because his actions had any effect on the game, and not because I’m against having a little fun, but because I’m just not sold on the idea that Drake should get special treatment solely on the basis of his celebrity.
I know the situations are completely different, but it’s at least somewhat hypocritical for players and coaches to call for less fan interaction after the Golden State minority owner incident, while laughing as the A-lister stands on the court and trades barbs face to face with the players. Let me be clear, I’m not saying what Mark Stevens did was okay and I applaud the NBA for their swift punishment of his unacceptable actions.
With that said, what happened in Toronto last night was just as disgusting as physically assaulting an athlete. Maybe even worse.
Just two minutes into the second quarter of Game 5, Kevin Durant re-injured his leg. It was clear from the moment he went down Durant’s right calf (or Achilles) had given out again; this time for good. Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and the Warriors medical staff helped him back to the locker room to a chorus of Toronto fans’ cheers. That’s right, they cheered.
The Golden State players stood, stunned, on the court. Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka pleaded for a jam-packed Scotiabank Arena to quiet their mocking applause to no avail. Only after Durant was escorted into the tunnel did they turn their cheers to a half-hearted “KD, KD, KD” chant.
There’s just no excuse for 20,000 people cheering a devastating injury. It’s pathetic, horrible, sad and a collection of other adjectives that I probably shouldn’t use here. The most disappointing thing is, I shouldn’t be surprised.
As a Dallas native, I’ve seen Toronto fans misbehave before. In the 2016 MLB playoffs, Blue Jays fans rained full beer cans onto the field to protest a bizarre call made by the umpires, narrowly missing women and children seated in the lower bowl. Combine that with the stereotype of Canadian hockey fans burning down their respective cities in both good times and bad and this whole scene starts to make sense.
As a sports fan, it’s just disappointing to watch. I get being passionate and I’m okay with going a little bit crazy to support your team, but to root for injuries and applaud when they happen isn’t fandom. It makes me sick. Almost sick enough to root for the Warriors.
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