With the latest incident involving Westbrook and a fan it got me thinking. There have been several times that I would have loved to respond to an inappropriate fan but I also feel that as professionals we need to just ignore them in the heat of the moment and address the situation at a later time. But where's the line? Is it ok to respond if it is racially charged attack? Is it ok to respond if they are bringing your family into the situation? How far can/should we go as coaches to address fans/parents? Can fans say whatever they want since, "I've paid my money. I'll say what I want!" I just wanted to throw this topic out there and see where this leads.
Since you brought up Westbrook, I assume you mean if these are being said during the game? I don't think I have ever paid attention to what fans are saying. Things have been said in the past but I didn't know about it until a coach told me afterwards.
The AD needs to be handling situations like that; coaches and players shouldn't have to put up with it. When I was an AD, I kicked people out of basketball and volleyball games for far less than using racial slurs. One woman decided it was a good idea to tell a twelve year old basketball player that she was going to "kick the chit out of her" and the proceeded to scream at me when I asked her to leave. I took it to the school board and had her banned from athletic events for the next two years.
It's always a bad deal when a coach get into it with a fan/parent during or after a game and it's hard for a the administration to back the coach up completely when these things happen. There was a situation in this area a few years ago where a parent shoved a coach as he tried to walk away. The coach turned around and decked the guy for it and chaos ensued. The AD is a friend of mine and it was a circus; the police had to be involved, the parent was banned from athletics indefinitely but the coach was alsos suspended for a few games, seeing as he retaliated.