By Angela L. Braden
Dwyane Wade was fined $15,000 for flipping off unruly fans that were yelling obscenities about his wife, actress Gabrielle Union.
The incident occurred last Wednesday when the Miami Heat were in Charlotte playing the Hornets. Wade said that some of the fans were shouting insults all night, but the comments got progressively worse. He said that when the disorderly fans started insulting his wife, he lost his cool. He approached the fans and raised his middle finger to the crowd.
Wade said that he normally ignores the insults some of the fans hurl at him and his teammates. However, Wade feels that the fans take it too far when they angle their insults towards the ball players’ families.
“You can talk about me all day. I really don’t care what you say about me because I know at the end of the day when I walk off that court most of those guys would see me in the back hallway and want to shake my hand. When it gets too personal about your family, that’s too far. But it’s not going to stop,” Wade said in an interview with the Associated Press.
But Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra feels that no matter how vicious the insults are from fans, it is better to not respond.
“Players are humans and some of the things that fans say does cross the line,” Spoelstra said. “It doesn’t give you the right to snap back at them with some kind of response, but it’s usually at an emotional time. … A handful of times a year, you hear it and you see it where they’ve crossed the line and what it requires is you being the better person and not responding.”
Obviously, Wade is typically the “better person” when incidents like this occur. According to Fox News, this was the first time in Wade’s 12-year career that he has been fined for negative interactions with sports fans.
In light of this incident, Wade has expressed his concern for players and their safety. He feels that fans shouldn’t be able to purchase seats so close to where the players are sitting on the team benches. Wade feels that the league and arena security must do more to protect their employees from out of control fans.
“The NBA is an unbelievable league, and I’m one of the first ones to be doing NBA Cares and all these things in the community, but they need to protect us a little more,” Wade told AP. “They need to do a better job of protecting players in the arena. It’s open game on us. We’re big boys, we can take it, but everyone has their breaking point.”