As sports betting has been legalized across the United States, the practice has become increasingly popular among fans. Meanwhile, the NBA has seen an increase in fan aggression toward players this season.
For example, less than two weeks ago, a video surfaced showing Suns guard Chris Paul in an altercation with a Mavericks fan that he said put hands on his mother while someone pushed his wife after Phoenix’s Game 5 loss to Dallas.
However, in a conversation with ESPN’s Malika Andrews ahead of the 2022 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he didn’t think there was a correlation between the increased levels of fan aggression and betting. Silver said he believes the rise in fan aggression is “part of a larger societal issue.”
“We are seeing enormous polarization, seeing political discourse, civil discourse … I think in some ways, we are a microcosm of that,” Silver said.
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Silver also added that the NBA has increased security in arenas, saying the league has the “enormous responsibility” to ensure that both the players and fans are safe during games
“99.9% of fans are there to enjoy themselves, to be there with their families,” Silver said. “The last thing they want to see is hostility directed at them by other fans or certainly at the players or referees.”
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