Detroit Pistons news: Troy Weaver video sparks fan debate

Jun 13, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Troy Weaver general manager of the Detroit Pistons
Jun 13, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Troy Weaver general manager of the Detroit Pistons / Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

As the Detroit Pistons were getting embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks, GM Troy Weaver got into a heated exchange with a fan who was not happy with his job performance.

By now, most of you have seen the 19-second video circulating social media that shows only Weaver's reaction and not what led up to it.

It's not a great look for a franchise that has been as embarrassing on the court as off it, but I also understand where Troy Weaver is coming from when it comes to real-life trolls.

Detroit Pistons: Troy Weaver video sparks debate amongst fans

A glance at some of the commentary around this event shows that some fans are calling Troy Weaver some manner of "soft" or "out of line" for making a minor verbal threat at a fan and then having him kicked out of the game. I can understand this point of view, as Weaver shouldn't have said what he said, but I also empathize with why he did.

The other side is that fans (who often think social media is real life) think they can say what they want with impunity while someone is at work. No one would expect to have to sit and have abuse hurled at them while trying to do their job, regardless of what you think of their performance.

James Edwards III of The Athletic (Subscription) reported that there was more to the exchange than what we saw and the fan had been asked repeatedly to stop yelling at Troy Weaver before the Pistons GM had had enough.

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I'm sure some of you disagree with this, but being a fan and buying a seat does not afford you impunity from your actions and we all know that lines have repeatedly been crossed. We all know there is a difference between booing someone and harassing them. Fans cross that line all of the time, with personal insults and dehumanizing language that no one should have to put up with, no matter what their job is.

I have no idea if that happened here, as there is no video footage (yet) of what led up to the 19 seconds we got to see, so I am speaking in general terms.

Fans have always heckled and booed but there does seem to be a growing number of fans who think they can troll people in real life like they do on the Internet, and find out one way or another that it's not true.

I've criticized Troy Weaver's job performance as much as anyone else, but that's my job, and I try to do it professionally (I don't always succeed) and without personal insults. I don't know the man and have no personal rancor against him. I want him to succeed and when he does, I give him credit and when he doesn't I write about it.

It's when it gets personal that things can escalate quickly, and while Troy Weaver should have kept his cool, there's only so much any person can take.

I should know, I get plenty of personal attacks from trolls online, I get called a moron and have had fans go as far as to tell me to "kill myself" over a basketball opinion, which is as absurd as it is unhinged.

Most days I just laugh and mute but there are others when I poke back, and I always find it funny how quickly the trolls go from aggressor to victim, clutching their pearls that someone dare respond to repeated insults. I have no problem at all if someone disagrees with me, and I love talking hoops, but calling someone an idiot or saying "you suck" is hardly a way to start a dialogue.

I don't condone Troy Weaver threatening a fan (though I would hardly call it that) but I understand it and have had enough of trolls who think they can say whatever they want without any sort of consequences.

We forget sometimes that professional athletes (and the ecosystem that surrounds them) are human beings with feelings and emotions just like you and me, so ask yourself, if someone came to your job or school, sat next to you and repeatedly insulted you, what would you do?

Those in professional sports shouldn't be held to any higher standards than the ones we have for ourselves, the baseline of which should be basic civility and it goes both ways.