The Dallas Mavericks issued a statement regarding an incident between fans and Suns guard Chris Paul’s family during Game 4 at American Airlines Center.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania:
“American Airlines Center and Dallas Mavericks security and executives have concluded the investigation into the recent incident with the Paul family. Two unruly fans attempt to give unwanted hugs and have conversations with members of the Paul family on the public concourse of American Airlines Center. AAC security responded immediately once notified by the family and the fans were swiftly ejected from the game. The fans involved in the incident will not be allowed to return to the arena until 2023.”
ESPN reported on Sunday night that fans had harassed and made physical contact with members of Paul’s family.
ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin tweeted that a source told him “that Paul’s mother had hands put on her by Dallas fans and Paul’s wife was also pushed. To make matters worse, Paul’s kids witnessed it. ‘They felt very unsafe,’ the source said.”
Paul was seen saying “I’ll see you later” to the fan as he was escorted out.
"I'll see you later!"
— Chris Paul to a Mavs fan who is presumed to have heckled his family
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) May 9, 2022
The Mavericks issued a statement following the game, saying “It was unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. The Mavericks, along with American Airlines Center, swiftly removed the fan from today’s game.”
Fan behavior has been an ongoing issue and players have been calling on the league to take harsher action to dissuade or punish unruly fan behavior.
The Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Golden State’s Draymond Green were both fined in separate incidents for making obscene gestures to the crowd in response to fan behavior.
Paul did not speak to the media after the game but Suns coach Monty Williams spoke up for the majority of Mavs fans.
“I have to stress that I don’t think this is indicative of the fans in Dallas,” said Williams said after Sun’s practice, per The Associated Press. “They’re cheering for their team. I’ve never had this kind of incident at that arena, even going back to the old spot, Reunion Arena, never.”