GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By MICHELLE HUANG
A portion of Austin Rivers’ salary has been “clipped” away as a result of inappropriate behavior during a game.
During their game on Thursday, Nov. 3, the Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard, Austin Rivers, felt compelled to respond to a fan who heckled Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan with strings of expletives and demeaning statements. As a result, the National Basketball Association (NBA) charged Rivers with a fine of $25,000.
The profane manner through which Rivers handled the conflict raises issues in the sports industry. As a result of Rivers’ vulgar response, many sports enthusiasts are questioning whether professional players should be more considerate when interacting with others. Although the fan rudely insulted Jordan, Rivers should have considered the influence and reputation he has in this industry before acting aggressively.
Being a professional basketball player on a popular team, Rivers is an icon to millions of people, especially children aspiring to become sports stars. Rivers’ actions were dangerous because they set an example for children to follow, leading them to believe that using crude language is acceptable when they do not agree with someone else.
Considering the vast influence of Rivers’ position, his response was completely unexpected of a professional. Although both involved in the exchange used vulgar speech, the audience may think of the professional basketball player as being more wrong than the fan. To many, Rivers should not have threatened the fan because his harsh statements help illustrate an arrogant, uneducated person unfit for a professional position.
Unsurprisingly, this incident has considerably lowered viewership and eagerness from fans of the team. The result of Rivers’ actions serves as justification for Rivers to seriously reconsider his actions because verbally attacking fans of one’s team demoralizes both the team and their own character.
However, Rivers is not the only athlete who failed to consider his reputation before lashing out. For instance, this October, Ricardo Allen of the National Football League (NFL) rudely responded to a fan who voiced his disappointment toward the Atlanta Falcons’ turnout that evening, stating that he missed his son’s game to watch the Falcons play. Allen then blamed the fan for neglecting his son, even going as far as to state that he was not a true fan. This response immediately sparked criticism and backlash from fans and sports enthusiasts alike; thus, they worked to bring justice to all sports fans by suggesting punishments for Allen.
Despite the possibly provoking statements from fans, professionals of any occupation should never turn to retaliation as the solution. Using degrading language toward others, especially toward one’s supporters, paints negative images of their character. Hopefully, all professional players will learn from Rivers’ mistake and remember to be considerate when responding to unappreciated comments.