Austin Rivers paid dearly for a mental lapse after the NBA slapped him a $25,000 fine for cursing at a fan seated at courtside in the Staples Center on Thursday night. According to the Associated Press report, the incident occurred with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter in the loss of Clippers to the Utah Jazz on a score of 126-107.
The 25-year-old apparently walked toward the unidentified fan and barked, “shut the f—k up!” before he was dragged by DeAndre Jordan. Rivers later told reporters that he was merely trying to come to the defense of his teammate. The fan, he claimed, was reportedly heckling the Clippers high-flying center.
“I definitely shouldn’t have said anything,” Rivers later said. “This is the message I want to say. I’m sorry for using profanity, but I was sticking up for my teammate, bottom line.”
Rivers also claimed that he already apologized to the fan afterwards as he admitted that he didn’t handle the whole situation the best way.
“Would I do it all over again? No, probably not because I wouldn’t want to get fined,” he said. “And you’re not supposed to respond to fans anyway.”
What got Rivers mad was because the fan was goading Jordan into a reaction about the trade rumors. The Bucks are rumored to be talking with the Clippers to possibly acquire the 29-year-old defensive of the year candidate in exchange for shot-blocking big man John Henson, sweet-shooting Khris Middleton and rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon.
Meanwhile, Coach Doc Rivers said that while he can understand that his son reacted that way to defend his teammate, his players knew better than to engage with fans. However, the former coach of the year said that it’s hard for players to restrain their emotions amid all the heckling and taunts from the crowd, especially if the team is not playing well.