After the Nuggets kick-started the Mavs’ summer vacation, George Karl still had the series in his mind. Namely, the fans in Dallas. According to Denver’s head coach, his players had to deal with racial epithets when the games were played at American Airlines Arena (something Carmelo Anthony’s wife also alleges that similar things happened to her in the stands.)
“I felt it crossed the line,” Karl said. “There was a racist mentality to it. There was a fighting mentality to it. It was to the point where blows I think could have happened. There wasn’t enough security. There wasn’t enough comfort for the fan who didn’t want any part of it.”
Karl said he heard the “N-word” from people in the crowd directed at his players. Karl plans to address the situation with the NBA after the playoffs.
Those are obviously very serious charges to make, which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Mark Cuban (who Karl said didn’t help matters much during the series) came rushing to his customers’ defense. The Dallas Morning News has Mark’s side of the story:
“The better team won the series. However, the mischaracterization of Mavs fans and the suggestion that there was a continuous racial or other type of onslaught by Mavs fans in the area toward the Nuggets bench and their fans is absolutely incorrect.”
In his response, Cuban said security reports indicated that a bodyguard trying to “proactively protect” friends and family members of Nuggets’ players escalated tensions. Cuban said no video evidence reveals Mavericks fans acting in an abusive manner. He invited Karl and Denver security to review the Mavericks’ documentation. “May I also politely suggest to Coach Karl that they increase security in their traveling party and near their bench,” Cuban wrote.
George Karl added that he plans to talk to the League office about the Mavs fans sometime after the season.