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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Damian Lillard says fans taunted him with homophobic slurs in Minnesota

Damian Lillard was captured on a cell phone video confronting a group of fans outside the Target Center in Minnesota Monday night, and the Portland Trail Blazers star was apparently responding to having anti-gay slurs shouted in his direction.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported on Tuesday that two individuals shouted homophobic slurs at Lillard as he was walking to the bus following Portland’s 108-107 loss to the Timberwolves. Lillard confirmed the report.

“I don’t bother nobody,” he told Haynes. “They were straight disrespectful.”

You can see the videos below, which show Lillard trying to figure out who had shouted something at him.

A woman in the area pointed out one of the individuals, and the man reportedly apologized. Lillard addressed the incident on Twitter Monday night, noting that the person who took the video was not the one who shouted the slur.

It’s almost always best for athletes to ignore what fans say rather than giving them the attention they’re seeking, but sometimes frustrations boil over. The Blazers only attempted five free throws in the loss, and Lillard was clearly disappointed with the way the game was officiated. Perhaps that was part of the reason the fans set him off.

Lillard isn’t the first player we have seen confront a fan, and he won’t be the last. There’s a difference between lighthearted heckling and tossing anti-gay slurs around. The latter shouldn’t be tolerated.

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