Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams believes the NBA should consider a families-only seating area at games. This news comes right after Chris Paul’s family were harassed during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. According to reports, two fans made physical contact with Paul’s family members. Before the fans were ejected from the American Airlines Center, they were giving unwanted hugs.
When Williams was asked about this story, he told reporters: “It’s a hard one, because it’s happening more and more. The situations are getting to a place now where I really feel like families, who are there to support their loved ones, need to be protected a bit more. Whether or not we have to give these people a section, a suite, something has to be done.”
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On TNT, Kenny Smith says that Chris Paul’s mother, Robin, reached out to explain what happened with the young Dallas fan. She said the fan was obviously inebriated and kept tapping her on the shoulder and wishing her happy Mother’s Day, even after she politely asked him to stop.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) May 10, 2022
On Twitter, Chris Paul responded to the incident by tweeting on Sunday: “Wanna fine players for saying stuff to the fans but the fans can put they hands on our families…f**k that!!” Robin, Chris Paul’s mother, told TNT’s Kenny Smith after the game that the fan was obviously inebriated. Coach Monty Williams is concerned.
Mavericks release a statement
In a statement made by the Dallas Mavericks organization on Monday, the team announced that the disruptive fans had been banned from entering American Airlines Center for eight months.
“American Airlines Center and Dallas Mavericks security and executives have concluded the investigation into the incident involving the Paul family. Two unruly fans attempted to give unwanted hugs and have conservations with members of the Paul family on the public concourse of American Airlines Center. The fans involved in the incident will not be allowed to return to the arena until 2023.”
While YouTube videos show the fans being escorted out, the event itself was never filmed.
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Other incidences of NBA fans interacting with players or family members
Furthermore, fans interacting with players and their family members is nothing new. LeBron James had two courtside fans ejected in overtime of the Lakers’ 126-116 win over the Pacers this season. They were heckling the four-time MVP. Players can deal with boos. For some perspective, at least they are not as annoying as NFL fans.
Not to mention, when the Wizards played the 76ers in May 2021, an injured Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him as he approached the tunnel to the locker room. To add to the aforementioned incident, does everyone remember the Malice at the Palace in 2004?
According to the NBA’s updated Fan Code of Conduct, guests are allowed to enjoy the basketball experience at a team’s stadium as long as their “experience is free of disruptive behavior, including foul or abusive language and obscene gestures.”
Cam Johnson recalls last year’s incident | Monty Williams
Additionally, on Monday, Suns guard Cam Johnson recalled the incident when his girlfriend was harassed and assaulted during Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Finals. She was hit in the back of the head and had beer spilled on her. Even if the fan was removed and banned from Fiserv Forum, negative occurrences with fans will continue to happen.
Considering these events, maybe Monty Williams has a point. Reserved seating would help prevent harassment. Celebrities need their space. Though, it might also make it easier for fans to target family members. This is a difficult situation for everyone involved.
The Mavericks play the Suns in Game 5 tonight at 7 p.m. ET. This contest can be watched live on TNT.