The NBA playoffs mark a period of intense competitiveness throughout the league, but there is still a baseline for respecting peers. On Monday, we learned that cursing a first-round opponent in a public forum is not within the NBA's definition of acceptable behavior.
At a fan rally before Saturday's Game 1 of the series between the Brooklyn Nets and host Toronto Raptors, general manager Masai Ujiri said 'F--- Brooklyn" over a microphone to the assembled crowd, with a fan video quickly gaining attention on social media and in various reports. On Monday, Ujiri was fined $25,000 for his comment, as announced in an NBA press release.
Earlier reports had suggested that Ujiri would merely be warned, apparently due to the Ujiri's lack of a previous offense and the comment's having taken place at a fan rally, not a press conference. Yet it's fairly easy to understand why this fine went through. Ujiri apologized for his choice of words, but the NBA typically doesn't put up with such comments from coaches and executives.
With this incident out of the way, the Raptors can now turn to more pressing matters. After losing Game 1 by a score of 94-87, the third-seeded Raptors must win Tuesday's Game 2 to avoid a 2-0 hole against the upset-minded Nets. With the series shifting to Barclays Center for Games 3 and 4 soon, it's essentially a must-win.
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