Should The NBA Do More To Protect Players Like Dwight Howard From Hecklers?
Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 109-105 on Sunday night to drop to 10-7 on the season, despite the fact that the Lakers were missing their young stars D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. So when Howard walked off the court, he was most definitely not in the mood to deal with any hecklers. But he was forced to listen to one fan in particular yell a bunch of things at him, and when he heard the fan scream the word “bitch” in his direction, he lost it. Howard invited the fan to come and fight him, and he had to be physically restrained by a member of the Hawks staff. You can watch the encounter here, courtesy of TMZ Sports:
At first glance, we were inclined to point out that this is no way for an NBA player to behave. If you play professional sports, you’re going to have to deal with hecklers, and there’s really no way around it. But shortly after unearthing the video above, TMZ Sports tracked down more videos of hecklers going at Howard over the last week. And if you search “dwight howard heckler” on Google, you will find that Howard has become a frequent target of heckling. Howard has responded to some hecklers and ignored others, but regardless of how he has reacted, it hasn’t stopped people from freely taking shots at him. As TMZ Sports pointed out, there was even a heckler who called his mother a “whore” last week.
Shouldn’t the NBA do something about this? We understand that the NBA can’t patrol what every fan inside of an NBA arena says. But it seems like the league should have a security guard posted up near the entrances that players use to take the court. If those guards hear fans yell something that crosses the line at a player, they should be instructed to point it out and fans should be held accountable for their heckling. It will make them think twice if they think there will be repercussions to their heckling.
The NBA hasn’t announced whether or not they plan on discipling Howard for challenging a fan to a fight. But at this point, it’s hard to blame him for getting upset with fans who heckle him. And it’s time for the NBA to do something about it if they don’t want it to continue to happen in the future to both Howard and all of the other players out there.