I yearn for the simpler times when politics and sports were separate topics. I’ve been a Jazz season ticket holder for nearly 30 years. I dropped them in 2018. Most of those years found me in Section 8 Row 8, directly behind the visiting team's bench. In the over 500 Jazz games that I personally attended, I’ve never once heard a racial slur or comment uttered at any of those contests. Was there light hearted heckling and banter (nothing racial) thrown out there occasionally? Of course there was. That’s sports. Typically, the players laughed, the ushers grinned, the referees smiled and the game played on.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a certain Salt Lake Metro League softball pitcher that I played against a number of times. Most all of us, including that particular pitcher, Larry Miller, exchanged good natured verbal jabs during those contests. It was fun. It was sports. Anger was rare.
Ten years or so ago, Kevin Garnett reacted to a technical foul called against him by kicking the ball into the stands about 10 rows behind me. It hit a seat and bounced back toward me. I caught the ball and threw it right back toward Garnett. It narrowly missed hitting him, as he was leaving the playing floor headed for the locker room. Fans, players, coaches, ushers, etc., all enjoyed what had happened.
In today’s environment, the laughter would probably be minimal, and there's a good chance that I would be labeled a racist and be permanently banned from the Vivint Arena. Unfortunately it seems as though we’re now catering to a few people with an agenda, that like to pull out the “race card” as a reaction to any situation, contrived or otherwise.