After the latest ugly incident with a fan interrupting an NBA game, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green said he wants to see the league cracking down more.
Green spoke out on April 23 shortly after a fan ran onto the court during the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 119-118 win over Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series. Though the fan, who was quickly tackled by security, did not get close to any of the players on the court, something dangerous could have happened, Green said, and the NBA should take steps to prevent that from happening.
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Fan Interrupts Game
Saturday’s incident took place with 10:44 left in the third quarter, when a fan sitting just behind the Timberwolves bench jumped over the front row of seats and ran onto the court. Almost immediately, a Target Center security guard seated near the fan snagged her, tackling the woman to the ground as other security personnel dragged her off the floor. The Timberwolves were running a play at the time of the intrusion. After she was tackled, a referee’s whistle stopped the action and players left the court.
After the incident, Green took to Twitter to implore the NBA to come down hard on fans who interfere with the game, saying it could create a dangerous situation for players if they try to defend themselves.
“They have to start prosecuting these people. Only a matter of time before someone hit them. Then the athlete gets sued,” he tweeted.
USA Today reported April 24 that the woman, who was dressed as an NBA official, was an animal rights activist from a group called Direct Action Everywhere, which has disrupted three Timberwolves game during the postseason.
“The fake ref uniform had 5.3 displayed on the back,” Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal tweeted. “I’m sure that’s in reference to the 5.3 million chickens killed that protestors from the group have talked about.”
Direct Action Everywhere claimed responsibility for the disruption in a tweet and a press release, saying that the factory farm owned by Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor (Minnesota’s richest person, according to Forbes), used an inhumane method to kill 5.3 million chickens after an avian flu outbreak.
Green Has Called Out Fans Before
Green’s April 23 tweet was not the first time he had called on the NBA to make a stronger effort to protect players from fans who step over the line. After fans were allowed to return to NBA arenas as COVID-19 restrictions eased, a series of fan incidents occurred, with fans targeting players for abuse, sometimes throwing garbage and debris at them.
Green joined Shaquille O’Neal on “The Big Podcast” in June 2021, saying the NBA was too strict on players but gave fans leeway to lob abuse at them.
“The NBA has taken it so far left to where a guy says, ‘F*** you,’ and you say, ‘F*** you’ back, you’ll get fined,” Green said. “It’s like, where is the protection for the players?
“Now when you see all these instances where there’s actual spit, or there’s a water bottle thrown this close to Kyrie [Irving]’s face, where there’s popcorn poured on [Russell Westbrook], then it’s like, ‘Oh, man, maybe we do need to protect the players.’ No, you should have been protecting the players.”