Responding to hecklers is probably never a good idea for professional athletes. But they’re obviously human and can only be pushed so far. A fan in Oklahoma City seemingly pushed a button on Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson last Friday (Nov. 27), to which he responded with a less-than-ideal retort.
Jackson’s, er, inappropriate comments toward that spectator will cost him $25,000, Yahoo!’s Marc Spears reports.
Pistons guard Reggie Jackson fined $25,000 by NBA for directing inappropriate language toward a fan during game on Nov. 27.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) December 1, 2015
During that game in Oklahoma City last week, Jackson returned to the Pistons’ bench, where he was greeted by a Thunder fan who apparently said something not to the point guard’s liking. The sixth-year guard, who was traded away from Oklahoma City last year, told the heckler to… well, just watch the (NSFW) video for yourself.
Unfortunately, the cell phone that recorded Jackson didn’t pick up what was said to him, which might add some context to his reaction. Not that it would excuse his outburst, of course. When asked by reporters what the fan that could have possibly provoked such a response, Jackson feigned ignorance and seemed to think his reaction was justified.
“Probably,” he said, as quoted by MLive’s David Mayo. “I don’t necessarily know what you’re talking about much.”
Jackson went on to defend himself, saying that fans yell “crazy” and “reckless” things to players without any penalty, insults that they would never utter off the court or outside the arena. Taking verbal abuse is part of the job as an athlete, but how far should that be allowed? Again, we have no idea what the fan said, but if it was truly offensive, someone associated with the Pistons or nearby fans should have alerted security and had him escorted out of the building.
That has to be a better way of handling such a matter than slinging back profanities, having them recorded for public viewing and getting fined $25,000 by the league. Or maybe Jackson just needs to be less sensitive next time he returns to Oklahoma City and sees former teammates who evidently don’t like him much.