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#pounditTuesday, January 25, 2022

Austin Rivers gets courtside fans kicked out of game

Austin Rivers in a hat

Austin Rivers got handed an “L” on Wednesday night and also handed it to some fans.

Rivers’ Denver Nuggets lost 108-94 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Rivers had 12 points in 23 minutes off the bench for Denver in the loss.

During the game, Rivers had some Thunder fans sitting courtside ejected.

Rivers said after the game that the fans were talking trash about his family.

The NBA needs to be careful about this sort of thing. Allowing players the power to eject fans on demand is a tricky proposition. Part of the home-court advantage for teams is a rough and rowdy fan base. Going to a sports event isn’t like going to the theater where you’re expected to be silent and watch the art form; fans should cheer, boo, be loud and have fun. They should also be entitled to trash talk players so long as they don’t go too far. The instant ejection of a fan means a player can get a fan removed just because they’re sick of the trash talk, even if a fan doesn’t cross a line. That precedent should not exist.

The NBA should also consider moving fans’ seats before ejecting them and they should consider refunding a prorated amount if fans are forced to miss part of a game because an opponent didn’t like the trash talk.

LeBron James had some fans ejected in Indiana, and that reflected poorly upon him. It’s not going to look any better for Rivers.

Photo: Nov 30, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers (25) arrives at the Toyota Center prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

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