NBA adopts zero-tolerance policy for fan behavior from abusive language to 'your mother' comments

The NBA is toughening its fan code of conduct policy following a summer meeting with a dozen players who believe fan behavior is becoming one of the game’s largest problems, the Associated Press reported Monday.

NBA adopts zero tolerance policy

The NBA will adopt a zero tolerance policy for abusive or hateful behavior, per the AP, and are putting fans seated closest to the players and court on alert. Ejections and further punishment will result from anything deemed to violate that policy, per the AP.

And that list is far broader than before. From the Associated Press:

The NBA is expanding its closely monitored area deeper into the stands, per AP. In the past it focused on fans seated on the court or within a few rows of it. Now arena officials will be aware of fans several rows deep as well as those near the tunnels for when players enter and exit the court.

Fans will be removed from their seats while the incident is investigated and season ticket holders risk losing their seats even if it’s someone else using their tickets who harasses players or officials.

Related: 2020 NBA championship odds ahead of the season

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2020 NBA championship odds ahead of the season

30. Charlotte Hornets: 2000/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-43

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(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

29. Cleveland Cavaliers: 1500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 19-63

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(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

28. Washington Wizards: 1250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 32-50

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(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

27. New York Knicks: 1000/1 odds

2018-19 record: 17-65

Odds via sportsbook.ag

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

T-25. Phoenix Suns: 500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 19-63

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(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

T-25. Memphis Grizzlies: 500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

24. Chicago Bulls: 300/1 odds

2018-19 record: 22-60

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(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

T-22. Oklahoma City Thunder: 250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 49-33

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(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

T-22. Minnesota Timberwolves: 250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 36-46

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(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

T-20. Detroit Pistons: 200/1 odds

2018-19 record: 41-41

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

T-20. Atlanta Hawks: 200/1 odds

2018-19 record: 29-53

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(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

19. Orlando Magic: 100/1 odds

2018-19 record: 42-40

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

18. Sacramento Kings: 125/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-43

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

17. New Orleans Pelicans: 100/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

16. Miami Heat: 75/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-41

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(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

15. Toronto Raptors: 70/1 odds

2018-19 record: 58-24, won championship

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(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

T-13. San Antonio Spurs: 60/1 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

T-13. Dallas Mavericks: 60/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/John Hefti)

12. Indiana Pacers: 50/1 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

11. Brooklyn Nets: 45/1 odds

2018-19 record: 42-40

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(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

10. Portland Trail Blazers: 30/1 odds

2018-19 record: 53-29

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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

9. Boston Celtics: 25/1 odds

2018-19 record: 49-33

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(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

T-7. Utah Jazz: 15/1 odds

2018-19 record: 50-32

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

T-7. Denver Nuggets: 15/1 odds

2018-19 record: 54-28

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(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

6. Golden State Warriors: 10/1 odds

2018-19 record: 57-25, won Western Conference

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

T-4. Philadelphia 76ers: 8/1 odds

2018-19 record: 51-31

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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

T-4. Houston Rockets: 8/1 odds

2018-19 record: 53-29

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(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

3. Los Angeles Lakers: 6/1 odds

2018-19 record: 37-45

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

2. Milwaukee Bucks: 11/2 odds

2018-19 record: 60-22

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(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

1. Los Angeles Clippers: 9/2 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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Ejections reportedly doubled in 2018-19

The league did not release numbers, but Pickett told the AP ejections of fans in courtside seats more than doubled last season. From the Associated Press:

The NBA has released “conduct advisory” notices to season ticket holders over the years, including a notice in October 2017 telling fans near the court they “bear a heightened responsibility to ensure” their conduct meets the guidelines. The very first example of inappropriate conduct given was “verbally instigating any player, coach, referee, fan or any other person involved in our game.”

At the end of that season, an NBA executive dismissed the idea it was becoming a problem to USA Today, crediting “heightened focus and monitoring in this area” including an enhanced code of conduct. Fan misbehavior is increasingly seen as “more normalized” given the political environment. But it’s reaching higher levels and players are feeling not only the taunts, but the cost of fines when they barb back.

Many incidents racially motivated

Roberts told the Associated Press she has received complaints about fan conduct and taunts from both black and white players and that not every incident is racially motivated. But many are fueled by race, something that has also become a consistent issue in soccer as well.

DeMarcus Cousins told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes in March he has been subject to racist slurs from NBA fans on multiple occasions. A Boston Celtics fan was banned for his taunts to Cousins for that season and this upcoming one. In another headline case that month, a Utah Jazz fan was banned for life after directing slurs at Russell Westbrook. Westbrook also said he’s been subject to it at multiple arenas, but “especially here in Utah.”

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