Posted May 25, 2013

Pacers radio broadcaster takes shots at Heat fans during Game 2

2013 NBA playoffs, Ben Golliver, Indiana Pacers, Mark Boyle, Miami Heat
LeBron James walks off the court after a Game 2 loss. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

LeBron James walks off the court after a Game 2 loss. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

Game 2 ended in disappointing fashion for the home crowd when Heat forward LeBron James uncharacteristically committed two turnovers in the final minute of the fourth quarter to help the Pacers seal a 97-93 win.

The sight of those two miscues was apparently too much for some in the American Airlines Arena crowd, who departed before the final buzzer. The early exit apparently delighted Indiana’s radio play-by-play broadcaster Mark Boyle, who ripped the Heat’s fans for not staying all the way through to the bitter end.

“We are literally sitting in the crowd here,” Boyle said, in an audio file of the broadcast posted on Miami sports site PageQSports.com. “These losers are leaving. They are flocking to the exits with their team down by three. This city does not only not deserve this team, they don’t deserve any team.”

Boyle, who has worked for the Pacers for more than two decades, posted a response on Twitter after receiving criticism over his comments about the Heat’s fans.

“It appears they don’t like me in Miami,” he wrote. “Ouch.”

Boyle’s comments were apparently made just after George Hill made the first of two two icing free throws with eight seconds remaining in the game, as that was the only point during the game’s final eight minutes in which Indiana held a three-point lead.

The television broadcast of the game confirmed that large sections of the lower bowl began emptying around at that time, immediately following James’ second turnover, and the crowd would further clear out shortly thereafter when the referees stopped the game for a video review and the Pacers took a 20-second timeout with less than two seconds remaining.

Even if Boyle’s comments are based in a factual analysis of the events, though, the collective assessment of the Heat’s fanbase is pretty harsh. Surya Fernandez of HotHotHoops.com, a Heat blog, argues that the lower-bowl fans shouldn’t be seen as the representatives of the entire fanbase.

Yes, everyone already knows that some lower bowl ticket attendees are not exactly the most hardcore basketball fans in the world. They arrive whenever they feel like it, though these 8:30 PM tipoff times have made that a moot point, and leave when they determine is the right time to possibly beat traffic. Who cares. Ask the upper bowl ticket holders, the loudest fans cheering in the arena and who still have to pay a pretty penny to get into the arena to see their favorite team in person, if the city deserves a professional basketball team. Or maybe ask the many fans who pack into the “standing room only” areas in the far corners of the AmericanAirlines Arena the same question.

The Heat have had a massive bulls-eye on their backs since forming the “Big 3″ in 2010. Fans of the Pacers, Celtics, Bulls, and Cavaliers, among other teams, have taken strong anti-Heat stances at one point or another. Boyle’s comments fall into that general context, although his role as a broadcaster and his targeting of the fans complicates the discussion.

NBA commissioner David Stern announced in April that the league’s Board of Governors had actually discussed the possibility of curbing “homerism” in local broadcasts of the league’s games, with an eye toward reducing criticism of the league’s officials.

“[The meetings included] some questioning about whether, wasn’t there anything we could do about the tenor of certain home team reporting on regional sports networks by which fans get their impression of the NBA and basically we told the owners that we explained what a homer is,” Stern said. “And we weren’t talking about baseball. And that that sells and that’s what some of the networks are telling their announcers, and that has in its collectivity builds a certain impression [about the officials], but we’re all over it, and we’re working on it.”

One would think criticism of opposing fans (read: paying customers) would fall into the same category as criticism of the officiating from the league’s perspective. Words that surely played well in Indiana aren’t necessarily in the best interests of the league as a whole.

Somewhat ironically, Hill expressed disappointment in Indiana’s home crowd following a March loss to the Lakers, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“It sucks. It was 70 (Lakers fans) – 30 (Pacers fans) out there. These are the same people that want autographs after the game. We’re out there in the community. We’re doing our job, doing what we’re supposed to do on and off the court. Something has to change. I tip my hat to this team. We’ve been trouble free. Been out in the community shaking hands, we’re winning. It shouldn’t feel like an away game, especially with an important like this. Tonight, that’s what it felt like.”

“They always say your fans are your sixth man and you feed off that energy. Energy is down and we turn the ball over and we’re hearing cheers. We’re missing shots and we’re hearing cheers. That kind of brings your head down cause you know you’re at home. It shouldn’t be like that. Now we see how it is. We have to move forward, don’t worry about. Stay focus on what’s in this locker room and don’t worry about the rest.”

According to ESPN.com’s attendance rankings, the Heat averaged 19,982 fans per home game this season, good for third in the league, while the Pacers ranked No. 24 at 15,269 fans per home game.

One Heat fan, Filomena Tobias, came under scrutiny during Miami’s second-round series against Chicago when she flipped the bird to Bulls center Joakim Noah after he was ejected from Game 2.

Game 3 between the Pacers and Heat is set for Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Eastern Conference finals are tied at one game apiece.

39 comments
jk4
jk4

Oh Puleeze!  Is this the first time an opposing broadcaster has said anything against the other team?

Actually, some Pacer fans have said a few things about the behavior of the Heat fans in Indy- so at best they're even.

I just have one word of advice- ifya have the cajones to badmouth the home team in their stands, be sure ya have the cajones to get yourself back to your hotel! 

You just Might pick the Wrong female to dump on....Heatfan in Banker's Fieldhouse sec 108..


ryan34
ryan34

At least Pacer fans do not wear sunglasses inside the arena

captaincone9
captaincone9

Funny....I didnt see many fans in the lower bowl behind Steve Kerr and Miller  with 4 minutes left in the game....What loser fans those Pacers are! What,you don't think your team could come back down 15 .....exactly....game is over just like any normal fan would do when they're pissed! 

rliberty77
rliberty77

At least heat kicked the crap out of pacers tonight!

arivero92
arivero92

I was at the game Friday, sitting in the upper deck. I was pretty ashamed of all the idiots in the lower bowl leaving early -- but you have to understand, these are people willing to pay up to thousands of dollars for a seat... not exactly rational thinkers. Very few people in the upper deck were filing out, and none of the real fans at home (who can't afford even the absurdly expensive upper deck seats) were turning off their TVs.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

Well let's face it, Miami isn't exactly a sports town. There's a brand new baseball stadium for the Marlins, and they have two World Series titles, and no one gives a s--- about them. 

BarryTheMuslim
BarryTheMuslim

You're not allowed to have personal opinions in America anymore.  All hail the almighty dollar!  Conform or be cast out!

doghockey
doghockey

Nice call by the Pacer announcer.   Exhibit A is is the old bag that got caught on video dropping the bird on Joakim Noah.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

It's a warm weather city with lots of other stuff to do, and it's not really a basketball town.  Most of these people didn't give a crap about the team until Lebron got there.

That doesn't mean there aren't great and loyal heat fans who would have stayed til the end, but most of the people who actually can afford tickets to the game aren't those fans.

Ace_Buzby
Ace_Buzby

I have noticed from watching the NBA network that many of the NBA teams have local broadcast crews who are very unprofessional.  They use terms like "we" when talking about the team and don't even try to pretend they are objective.  I guess that is the norm, but it was a surprise to me after being used to a first class pro like Kevin Colabro, when he did the games for the SuperSonics.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

It doesn't say on their ticket that they have to be on time and stay for the whole thing. There are a lot of things to do in Miami, unlike Indianapolis.

Mark4
Mark4

Heat Fan is the new Laker fan, in late, out early.

DD
DD

The writer provides the facts then spends the rest of the article defending the actions of the market that is about 4 times larger than that of Central Indiana. Two words....career preservation !!!!!

RobertM
RobertM

I am a Heat fan and live in South Florida.  He has a point and I agree with him on the quality of fan support in South Florida. Very weak. They arrive late, leave early, criticize the home team too quickly when things are not perfect, and are generally not engaged and true fans. Either way...GO HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CoryWells
CoryWells

they're fans are losers. you can tell just by watching pre- and post-game analysis by the tnt crew. the tv crew has to cut to all kinds of angles and views just to keep their loser fans out of the picture. just look at them--they all wanna be the next kardashians.

Maze
Maze

Indianapolis metropolitan area population is 1,756,241 people, Miami's is 5,564,635. You can't compare NBA attendance figures with that population difference...apples to oranges! Our 15,269 fans per game are true basketball fans, where as most of Miami's 19,982 fans per game are just their for entertainment purposes!

Loch
Loch

Miami had way better attendance numbers than the Pacers did this season.  Who mind you was expected to be one of the better teams going into the season. So no real excuses for poor numbers early in the season.

RexCruz
RexCruz

I recall that Miami had to change the color of their seats from yellow to red from all of the visible empty seats on TV. Great fan base Miami

humburger
humburger

@BarryTheMuslim Whose opinion are you talking about? The Indiana announcer's opinion or the opinion of those who respond to him? Why aren't they both allowed their opinions?

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Ace_Buzby Well many times the local broadcast crew is actually paid by the team and/or are former players for that team, so "we" makes more sense.

Any game of importance gets a national TV crew and usually a national radio crew, so if you want a non-homer call, that's the way to go.

Chris8
Chris8

@Ace_Buzby It's one thing for fans to use "we" when talking about a sports team.  Really hate it when broadcasters do.  I don't care if you're favoring the home team.  Call a straight game and show you know how to be a professional.  But yeah, sure seems like all the local broadcasters for most teams are just blatant homers.

doghockey
doghockey

@JasonMacBride And all of those things will likely still be there if you stay at the game for a few minutes longer.   Oh, and there are plenty of things to do in every city.  Miami has not cornered the market on that.

Chris Drubert
Chris Drubert

@Maze Plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse holds 18,165. even if they sold out each game they would still be lower than AAA.

jk4
jk4

@Loch wanna compare population skippy?

dknuth84
dknuth84

You defy reality. You know nothing about the NBA, only bandwagoning.

Mark4
Mark4

@Loch Not per minute.  To many late arrivers and early departers.

dknuth84
dknuth84

Pretty embarrassing that the defending champs with the best player and 2 other all stars still looks empty at home until the second quarter with skanks with bad plastic surgery only there to get in the background of a camera crew's shot.

dknuth84
dknuth84

A crew that only broadcasts their cities games for their local networks and you're complaining about their bias? If they didn't pull for THEIR HOME TEAM they'd be replaced, they're supposed to give locals what they want to hear! National network crews are unbiased, unless its football crews, and say what the league wants the narrative to be.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Chris8 @Ace_Buzby 

I actually disagree completely.  When fans say "we" it comes across as completely douchy, in my opinion.  Fans didn't play for the team, aren't paid by the team.   The players don't know who they are and don't care either.

When a broadcaster who is a former player and an employee of the team says "We" then I think it's fine, because at least they are part or were part of that team.  It's definitely homer-ish but that's what the team pays for in their home market.

If a broadcaster for ESPN, TNT, ABC, etc says "We" then it's unprofessional.  If Magic Johnson can refer to the current Lakers as "they" then any national broadcaster can do the same.

jk4
jk4

@Chris Drubert @Maze However, the Pacer franchise started in 1977. They seem to be holding their own against the johnny come latelies.

jk4
jk4

@dknuth84 Think our friend chris8 is all caught up in seeing his words appear in print...

jk4
jk4

 @Chris8

So what IS it you want? A 'fan' is self-described as a person who favors a team. A local broadcast is local because it is aimed at the 'fans' of that team. You want Your local guy telling you how well the other guys are doin as they beat the crap out of your team??   SMH..



dknuth84
dknuth84

The simple fact is that if you're in Chicago your option is a league pass or WGN with their local announcers for free.  Same thing in any city with their local stations.  I just didn't think Ace or you understood that fact and you were complaining about bias that is supposed to be there on local stations.  It's like saying I went to an away game and was pissed when the home announcer at .... was asking the fans to only cheer for the home team!  Kind of the point right?

Chris8
Chris8

@dknuth84 That's kind of my point.  The fact that it's not only expected, but encouraged for local broadcasters to be so biased one way just dilutes the game.  For one thing, they don't need to manipulate or manufacture.  The game speaks for itself.

 Of course that's how it is, but that's also why I don't listen to local broadcasters.  Frankly if you're a fan of a team, do you really need some announcer telling you how great they are, or how terrible the opponents are?

 Maybe it's how things are, but it sure is unfortunate.