An NBA player had to be restrained by officials and a teammate after a spectator’s heckles drudged up a sordid social media scandal from his past.
Thursday night, the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets took on the league’s dead-last Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. While the visitors would go on to expectedly rout their Motor City hosts, an incident that occurred on the sidelines was what garnered all the buzz.
In a video that has since gone viral, a court-side attendee can be heard shouting expletives at point guard Jamal Murray with one particularly vulgar reference to his girlfriend, Harper Hempel.
“I saw your girl sucking d*ck!” the heckler could be heard before an official blew the whistle on the play as well as other indecipherable shouts.
Listen as these Pistons fans were trash talking Jamal Murray pic.twitter.com/1uocLLBpZK
— Nuggets World 🌎 (@jokerszn15) March 17, 2023
No sooner had play paused did Murray turn his full attention to the onerous fan, forcing an official to promptly step in before the 26-year-old basketballer could potentially escalate the situation further.
While the point guard aggressively shouted back at the stands, the heckler could be heard adding, “You ain’t gonna do sh*t, boy!”
Other officials joined the fray, as did two-time MVP Nikola Jokić, and a moment after it appeared that Murray had broken off, another official was seen stopping the player from attempting to reengage the verbal sparring.
At the end of the video, law enforcement officials could be seen signaling to guests seated where the heckling had originated, but it was unclear whether or not the fans were removed from the arena or merely reprimanded for their conduct.
Meanwhile, what was clear was the reference the heckler was making to a post that inadvertently made its way to Murray’s social media account three years earlier.
In the midst of the 2019-2020 NBA season, a video appeared on the player’s Instagram story that allegedly featured Hempel performing a sex act on him. The video and still shots from it began circulating the web and Murray charged that the post had been the result of an account hack, not an error on his part.
In an apology posted to Twitter from an account no longer active, he had written, “First and foremost I would like to apologize to my fans. My account has been hacked, currently working on the issue. Thanks.”
Social media reactions were not only angered at the language used by the fan with kids present, but many insinuated there was a racial connotation to the way the heckler had said “boy” that needed to be addressed, with as much as a permanent ban from attending games.
“That ‘boy’ had a racist twang to it,” one said as another remarked, “Nah the pronunciation on the word ‘boy’ there didn’t feel right at all…”
That “boy” had a racist twang to it
— TRAV B RYAN ♒️ (@travbryanmusic) March 17, 2023
Nah the pronunciation on the word “boy” there didn’t feel right at all…
— JAKE BUCKLEY (@TheMasterBucks) March 18, 2023
He’d never say that to his face.
— Smitty from Up North (@Smitty1914) March 18, 2023
That “boy” sounded mighty racist
— Josh Silva (@silvaandgold3) March 17, 2023
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