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A Fan Yelled an Unforgivable Slur at This NBA Player's Brother...And it Happens All the Time

Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)
Photo: Stacy Revere (Getty Images)

Sports fans tend to forget that though professional athletes are among the most popular and wealthiest people in the world, they still tend to face a lot of racism as well.

On Tuesday, after their game 2 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Indianapolis Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton gave the public insight into what his brother was called just during game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

During the press conference, Haliburton shared, “My little brother in the stands the other day was called the N-word. It was important for us as a family to just address that. And that was important for us to talk about because that just didn’t sit right with anybody in our family. It’s just been important to have my family here right now. My little brother has handled that the right way.”

While this incident directly didn’t affect Haliburton, it’s still disturbing to hear about incidents like this.

When asked about the mysterious guest who used the slur, a Bucks spokesperson said, “An arena guest services representative reported that during Sunday’s game, a few guests were not sitting in their correct seat.”

They added, “The guest services representative asked the group to move one section over to their correct seats. Then, one of the individuals in the group claimed to the representative that a person sitting in front of him had used a derogatory term toward him. The accused person denied the accusation. The group moved to their correct seats and no further incident was reported.”

So it seems like the racist guest didn’t face any consequences. But still, racism amongst sports fans is something that still needs to be addressed.

Again, the N-word wasn’t said toward Tyrese, but there are plenty of incidents where star athletes are the direct target of racial remarks.

LeBron James has spoken extensively about the racism he’s faced from fans while visiting the Boston Celtics during road games.

His Los Angeles home was even spray-painted with the N-word in May 2017.

Donovan Mitchell, who was once a star guard for the Utah Jazz, even told Axios that the racism that he faced while in Salt Lake City was draining, even though he was the star of the team.

These are just examples of NBA players in the United States. It’s worse for some professional athletes in other countries.

In April 2023, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports called out Italian soccer fans for their racist remarks toward Romelu Lukaku. Video even showed fans showering Lukaku with monkey noises that could be heard during the broadcast.

So yes, racism in sports is still very much alive.

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