In case you missed it — and you’d be forgiven for that, what with all the other incredibly chaotic stuff enveloping the Phoenix Suns right now — rookie swingman Josh Jackson joined the growing ranks of NBA players who’ve gotten into it with fans in the early going during Phoenix’s Saturday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers:
With the Clippers holding a commanding 26-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, Jackson went to the bench after picking up his fifth foul. On his way back to the sideline, he got into it with someone in the stands at Staples Center, raising his right hand toward the crowd and using a gesture that sure looked like squeezing a trigger, before lobbing what sure looked like a “f*** you” toward the seats.
The last thing the raging inferno of awfulness that is the Suns needs right now is its No. 4 overall draft pick — one who’s been ordered to take anger management classes after an incident during his lone year at Kansas — getting in trouble for firing an imaginary gun at a heckler. How fortuitous, then, that Jackson says he was not doing that! From Scott Bordow of azcentralsports.com:
“That’s what most people thought I was going but I actually wasn’t making a gun,” Jackson said, adding he has seen the video. “I kind of wanted to put up the middle finger to him but I didn’t do that because I felt like I was really being watched so I kind of halfway did it.”
Jackson said he doesn’t regret making the hand gesture. He said the fan had been heckling him all game.
“He called me a few names as I was coming out of the game so that’s what really set me off,” Jackson said. “But it had been going on from the same guy the entire game. Fans can come and sit so close and say whatever they want to say and us as players can’t react in any type of way. It’s something I’m still learning.”
You’re not going to believe this, but judging by a Tuesday afternoon announcement, the league office … well, didn’t believe this:
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson has been fined $35,000 for making a menacing gesture on the playing court and directing inappropriate language toward a fan, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
It’s an expensive lesson for the rookie, but a valuable one nonetheless: when you feel like flipping off the fans, it’s be a good idea to find alternative, less easily-mistakable-for-weapon-firing methods of working out his reasonable-enough frustration with jeering crowds. As long as he’s suiting up for this Suns team, he’s not going to stop hearing them any time soon.
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