Quicken Loans Arena microphones picked up the fan’s racist remarks.
“Hey, Jamaican dog. They want their bobsledder back,” the fan directed at Mills. “Hey Mills, Jamaica just called; they want their bobsledder back.”
Here was Patty Mills classy response:
This incident comes on the heels of what happened at a Chicago Blackhawks game when fans directed racist remarks towards Capitals’ Devante Smith-Pelly. The Blackhawks did apologize publicly after the incident, and also put some money where their mouth was, banning those fans from the United Center permanently.
It is truly sad and embarrassing that these types of incidents keep happening at sporting venues in 2018. Paying for a seat doesn’t buy anyone the right to act like a bigot. For this to happen at a Spurs vs. Cavs game is even more mind-boggling.LeBron James is one of the most outspoken athletes on social issues and equality of our generation, Gregg Popovich is one of the most woke coaches in the history of the NBA, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is one of the most empowering commissioners in all of sports, encouraging his players to speak out on social issues.
Initially, I wanted the Cavaliers to find out who this fan was so that they could make this his last game at the Q. But after thinking about it, it would be great if the fan could have a face to face interaction with Patty Mills or Lebron James instead. If this fan can actually learn from this, maybe it will change his point of view and stop him from passing this train of thought onto his friends and family.
Fighting hate with hate nowadays has become a norm, but in my opinion, education and empathy is the key to change. Let’s try a different solution with this one fan, and see if we can prevent incidents like this one from happening in the future.
[UPDATE]: The Cavaliers have identified and banned the person who heckled Patti Mills indefinitely from Quicken Loans Arena: