Buying a ticket does not buy you the right to be a jerk


It’s a very straightforward and simple point to make: Buying a ticket to a sporting event, even a very expensive one, admits a person into the venue to watch, cheer and witness the spectacular displays of athletic ability put before them. It does not permit someone to hurl racist and disrespectful commentary towards the athletes who are there to entertain and inspire.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was caught on camera on Monday telling a Utah Jazz fan that he would physically harm him and his wife.

The video went viral immediately, and people were quick to blame Westbrook for having a short fuse.

The fan, Shane Keisel, stuck around after the game to be interviewed by reporters and to give his account of the story. Keisel painted himself as an innocent, wide-eyed fan who was harmlessly jawing back and forth with Westbrook when he snapped.

In less than 24 hours since the incident, Keisel deleted his Twitter account after people quickly began going through his archive and allegedly found racist and vulgar views being expressed.

Soon after that, the Utah Jazz organization finished a quick and definitive investigation which found that Keisel lied about the interaction and did, in fact, use disrespectful and disgusting language towards Westbrook before he snapped.

He has since been banned from the arena for life.

This is the type of swift action that needs to be happening more and more in arenas and stadiums across the country.

Buying a ticket does not give anyone a right to be a jerk. It does not give a person the right to ruin the fan experience for everyone in their vicinity and it certainly does not give them a right to completely dehumanize athletes with despicable comments and language.

All stadiums should take note of what happened and begin to put in place more security and safeguards to squash disrespectful behavior from fans. This is as important for all the decent fans out there as it is for the players.

With ticket prices in all sports increasing and the fan experience from home becoming so dynamic, the least teams can do for the fans who pay money and show up in person is make the environment at the game as enjoyable as possible.

If a fan becomes abusive, vulgar and disrespectful, they should be removed immediately. Players who are close enough should be able to to reach out to security and have a fan watched or ejected.

Players are paid millions of dollars because they are outstanding at their given form of entertainment and the notion that they should have to put up with crass and dehumanizing behavior from fans because they are rich and famous is ridiculous.

Fans should feel free to boo, jeer, and be able to say a guy stinks or is even a bum. Anything more than that is just obnoxious and sad.

Just because fans paid their money does not give them the right to act however they want, because everyone else around them also paid their money and they didn’t do it to listen to the Shane Keisel’s of the world act like morons. They paid their money to watch the Russell Westbrook’s of the world perform.