The Indiana Pacers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They currently hold the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, which includes two wins in two games over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
The Pacers have scored over 98 points in nine out of their last 11 games. In front of a home crowd of over 16,000, Indiana put up a season-high 125 points, in a sound thrashing of the rival New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Yet and still, despite their recent successes, the Pacers are currently 27th out of 30 NBA teams in home game attendance.
ESPN radio and television personality Colin Cowherd has his own opinions about why the Pacers are having trouble getting fans in the seats on a regular basis. Cowherd thinks that this statistic is based on racial bias. On his radio show, Cowherd expressed his opinion that the Pacers have been held to a racial standard ever since the 2004 brawl in Detroit, where several former Pacers were part of a violent melee with fans.
Other negative incidents followed, causing the complete dismantling of what was a championship-contending team. Cowherd’s radio show just happened to recently be broadcast locally in the Indianapolis area for the first time in nearly a year, right before he made his comments about the Pacers.
“You’re holding an organization to a standard that happens because of race. There’s no other explanation why people don’t go to Pacers games,” Cowherd said on his radio show earlier this week. “Nobody is saying Indianapolis won’t support African-American athletes. What we’re saying is Indianapolis punishes the Pacers more than they punish the (Indianapolis) Colts for indiscretions off the field or off the court, and a lot of that is racial.”
Cowherd’s comments are both uneducated and uncalled for. There’s no reason for a nationwide radio personality to try and act as though he understands what happens in a local market, or what the reasons are for their poor attendance, when he’s not been to a single Indiana Pacers game this season himself.
Aside from that obvious observation, ridiculous stories such as this decidedly deter from the improvements the Pacers have made as a team, a franchise, and as a revitalized fan base. Cowherd’s opinions are simply an attempt to stir the pot, and to grab any kind of attention possible. The best way Indiana fans can prove his points wrong, is by showing up and showing support for their Pacers.