Bradley Beal Says 76ers Fan Said Something 'Crazy' to Him with His Children Nearby

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2021

Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal plays during Game 2 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Bradley Beal said a Philadelphia 76ers fan said something "crazy" in his direction while the Washington Wizards star's kids were nearby during Game 2 of the teams' first-round playoff series Wednesday night.

"Part of me wanted to go over there and say, 'Who are you talking to? I'm a grown-ass man.' But I can't do that," Beal told reporters.

The Sixers scored a 120-95 win in Game 2, which took place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly, to take a 2-0 series lead.

Meanwhile, Beal's backcourt running mate Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him as he returned to the locker room for teammate on an ankle injury. He called the disparity between how players and fans are treated in regard to NBA punishment as a "huge problem," adding:

"To be completely honest, man, this s--t is getting out of hand, especially for me. The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f--k they want to do, it's [wrong]. Any other setting, I'm all for the fans enjoying the game and having fun. It's part of sports, I get it. But there are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting, I know for a fact they wouldn't come up, a guy wouldn't come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head because they know what would happen. A guy wouldn't come up to me talking about my family and my kids on the street because the response would be different.
"The arenas have gotta start protecting the players. We'll see what the NBA does, but there's a huge problem for us as players, and for me, where fans they say whatever and the consequences for me are a lot more [detrimental] for me than the fans in the stands because they're untouchable. They can say what they want at a sporting event and they enjoy the game. But what a lot of fans don't realize is this is my job. I don't just play, this is something I love to do, it's something I compete at. So, to get food thrown on top of me, it's just bulls--t, really."
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Russ got heated after a fan threw popcorn at him pic.twitter.com/XyMRUxUVwc

Beal called that incident "disgusting."

Elsewhere, a New York Knicks fan in Madison Square Garden appeared to spit on Trae Young on Wednesday, which drew the ire of the Atlanta Hawks star's dad, Ray:

Ray Young @rayfordyoung

Gotta get this under control. @russwest44 gets popcorn thrown on him & @TheTraeYoung gets spat on. I can deal with all the chants about my son, it comes with it. But this needs to be addressed.@NBAonTNT @NBA @espn @nyknicks @NBATheJump https://t.co/0WoO5jtAc2

It extends beyond the boundaries of the NBA floor too. Golfer Brooks Koepka said both he and his caddie, Ricky Elliott, were struck as fans raced toward the 18th green to see the final hole of Phil Mickelson's PGA Championship win over the weekend.

"Yeah it would have been cool if I didn't have a knee injury," Koepka said. "Got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s--t, personally. But if I was fine, yeah, it would have been cool. It's cool for Phil. But getting dinged a few times isn't exactly my idea of fun."

The return of large-scale crowds to sporting events has been a terrific sight and sound in recent weeks after more than a year of limited or no attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These instances of fan misconduct have sullied what should otherwise be a feel-good story, however, and the onus is on the leagues, teams and venues to make sure things are kept under control and any offending fans are removed and potentially banned from future events.

The NBA hasn't commented on the incidents involving Beal, Westbrook or Young on Wednesday night.