Patty Mills faces racist comments following Cavs win

Photo courtesy of @Patty_Mills, Twitter

What should have been a celebratory night for the San Antonio Spurs and their fan base turned into a night of lessons, and there was one particular lesson to be learned during the 110-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The lesson is that racism, no matter how commonly subdued it may seem, is still prevalent in our daily lives, especially in the world of sports.

With less than three minutes left in the game, Patty Mills stepped up to the free-throw line after being fouled. When the crowd lulled, microphones picked up the taunts of one fan directed at Mills.

According to a report from Sporting News, the fan said “Hey, Jamaican dog. They want their bobsledder back.” The remarks garnered a great deal of attention on Twitter after a recording of the live coverage from a TV was posted and seen by thousands.

Mills, an Australian who is black, tweeted a response to what had happened during the game saying “I am a proud Islander. Like my Jamaican Brothers, me & my family in the islands of the Torres Strait have experienced racial slurs for decades. Hope your efforts will enlighten this confused, hateful fan.”

Mills moved into fourth place on the Spurs’ all-time three-pointer list, as he netted the 657th of his career with San Antonio, according to Sporting News.

The Washington Post reported that the fan has been identified and banned indefinitely from Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mills agreed that racism is something that has not gone away as Mills explained in an interview with ABC KSAT: “I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been called a lot worse, But it was a small example to shine a little bit of light on the fact that racism still does exist in sports today. We as a whole can do a lot more to be in a situation like this today, and help educate the kids to be able to be proud of who they are and where they come from, and have the feeling inside to be able to express all of that.”

The fan’s indefinite ban should never go under review, for professional sports organizations should consider a zero tolerance policy in regard to racism or any remark that is aimed at a fan or player in order to cause harm. The first step to combatting this problem is educating not just children, but adults too on the impact that their words can have on other people.

No one should ever have to get used to hearing racial slurs and other remarks about their ethnic makeup. Once people are able to have that discussion as a country, only then will people be able to say that they took every possible measure. Until then, lifelong bans are necessary.

For a grown man or woman to receive a second chance with the full knowledge that what they said was inappropriate would be a disservice to those who come to enjoy games in a respectful manner.

Increasing education on racism and overall tolerance that made the United States the melting pot that it soon became is what the country needs to get back on the right track.