Are fans who show disrespect toward NBA players motivated by race?
During the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, several negative interactions between fans and players took place involving spit, alleged racial language, water bottles and popcorn. Because the optics are white fans and black players, the conversation immediately jumped to whether race has anything to do with the incidences. While race does play a role in these situations, the question as to whether the fans are racially motivated in their behavior is a different issue entirely. Race does have something to do with this, and it involves an understanding of the current – and historically ongoing – economic climate of America.
For more commentary on sports culture and socioeconomics, check out Kyrie Irving is Making a Mistake By Not Talking Basketball to the Media and Kyle Larson’s N-Word Incident.