A spectator who heckled Knicks Coach Isiah Thomas on Wednesday night received a printed warning card from a security guard to stop what he was doing or face ejection from Madison Square Garden.
The fan, Michael Katz, an accountant from Westchester County, said he was not cursing but was merely yelling critical remarks at Thomas, who is also the team’s president. Katz said his comments were within what he thought were the boundaries of fair comment.
“I don’t curse,” Katz said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I keep it all within the framework of basketball.”
The 3-by-5 ½-inch warning card handed to Katz features blue letters on a white background. It reads: “You are being issued a warning that the comments, gestures and/or behaviors that you have directed at players, coaches, game officials and/or other spectators constitute excessive verbal abuse and are in violation of the NBA Fan Code of Conduct. This is the first and only warning that you will receive. If, after receiving this warning, you verbally abuse any player, coach, game official or spectator, you will be immediately ejected from the arena without refund.”
The Knicks of course issued statements talking about how everyone does it and it has nothing to do with protecting Zeke's precious ears. However, I found a throwaway line in the story much more interesting than the actual controversy.
After receiving the warning, Katz said, he moved to a different seat and was not ejected. He said he attends four or five Knicks games each season and prefers the Los Angeles Lakers. He said he bought his ticket for $20 outside the Garden from a scalper.“The scalpers were just basically giving away tickets,” Katz said. “The prices were low.”
20 bucks to sit twelve rows behind the bench? I'm paying a trip to the Garden during the next home stand.