The Dallas Mavericks evening their second round series with the Suns on Sunday night became a side story after news broke that two fans had been removed from the game after an incident involving Chris Paul’s family.
Paul was furious after the game, leaving his postgame presser early in an effort not to get fined and then voiced his frustration with what happened in the stands on Twitter, as we learned Mavs fans put their hands on his family behind the Suns bench. It wasn’t clear exactly what had happened, but Paul was understandably upset and on Monday the Mavericks offered a statement following their investigation into the incident.
Per the team, the two fans in question had tried to give “unwanted hugs” to the Paul family and engage them in conversation, and would not be allowed to return to the arena until 2023 (which isn’t a particularly long ban).
The Mavericks have banned two fans from their home arena until 2023 in the wake of the fan incident with Chris Paul’s family during Sunday’s Game 4. Team statement: pic.twitter.com/TwEX9moIV6
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 9, 2022
“Unwanted hugs” is certainly a new one when it comes to explaining an incident in the stands, and whatever the intent, that’s still unacceptable behavior towards a player’s family — and it’s hard to imagine it was as innocent as this statement makes it seem given Paul had just fouled out so there wasn’t any reason to believe the Paul family would want any kind of hug or contact in that moment. Those fans will not be back at Mavs games this year, although it can be debated as to whether this is a stern enough punishment to deter future incidents of the kind.