[Original story:] The NBA is investigating another player-fan incident after video captured New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis flashing his middle finger at the crowd following a home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
Dressed in street clothes after being ruled out with a back injury for a fourth straight game, Davis flipped the bird at a Smoothie King spectator as he exited the court.
The fan who originally posted the video, Bradley Wehmeyer, offered his side of the story in a series of replies on Twitter: “Long story short the old dude in the stands behind me flipped AD off first because he was upset that he spent so much money on season tickets and all AD has been doing is sitting out, then AD responded.”
A Pelicans fan account on Instagram posted an alleged direct message exchange with Davis in which the 26-year-old superstar appears to offer a similar viewpoint:
The Times-Picayune cited multiple sources in reporting that the fan provoked Davis. “One source said Davis was told simply, ‘[Expletive] you, AD!” the newspaper said.
Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans in late January. The team rejected offers for the All-NBA big man prior to the trade deadline, opting instead to continue shopping him this summer. He has played 15 of the team’s 29 games since his trade request, averaging just 22 minutes, as the team has spiraled down the lottery.
Once beloved in New Orleans, Davis’ relationship with Pelicans fans has been complicated as a result. He was booed by the home crowd during pregame introductions and almost each time he touched the ball upon returning from injury in early February. Wednesday’s incident is the latest example of a strained (and strange) relationship between Davis and the only NBA city he has called home.
It also marks the latest in a string of unfortunateplayer-fanincidents that have raised questions about problematic in-arena behavior and resulted in spectator banishments and athlete fines. This video does not appear to rise to the severity of recent allegations of racism, but Davis may still face a fine, even despite the fan’s instigation. Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook received a $25,000 fine last month “for directing profanity and threatening language toward a fan” who, the Utah Jazz determined, directed “excessive and derogatory verbal abuse” at him.