Fans can be rude, crude, and downright offensive. Encountering obnoxious fans at sporting events is just like encountering taxes in life; it will happen, and should be expected.
However, when the San Antonio Spurs went out of their way to ban Miami New Times Columnist and TV/Radio Personality Pepe Billete from the game due to his vehement, crude and passionate personality, they made themselves look abhorrent and ridiculous.
Their presumptive banishment is almost as ridiculous as Pepe Billete himself. You see, the Spurs didn’t ban an actual person. They banned a man and his stereotypically Cuban puppet whose Twitter page has more than 18,000 followers and mantra of “for mature audiences only”.
Let me repeat that. The San Antonio Spurs were so threatened by a puppet that they banned him from the NBA Finals under the assumption having an opposing fan in presumably good seats would detract from the viewing experience of Spurs fans.
Since he went viral with the incident, Pepe has gained over 1,000 followers on Twitter and appeared on ESPNU’s nightly show, Unite. He has been offered multiple interviews around Miami, and will certainly have an opinionated column about the incident.
The Spurs organization has not responded to banning someone who has been courtside at Miami Heat games. What reason do they have? Courtside hecklers/supporters like Spike Lee have been allowed into every NBA arena multiple times. In my opinion, the Spurs crossed a definite line by banning a road team’s fan from the arena, and doing so for all the wrong reasons.
Take it from someone who has ventured into opposing teams’ fields and rooted loudly for the road team. Fans are wary and aware of the situation they place themselves in.
Banning someone who plays on the stereotypes of Latino-American sports fans and saying that he may have disrupted the Spurs fans’ experience has the possibility to blow up in the team’s face. Hopefully, if this issue garners more attention, the Spurs can be more succinct in their reasoning for banning Miami’s self-proclaimed biggest fan from the game Tuesday.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486