Sixers fan who used racial slur ‘boy’ in altercation with Carmelo Anthony banned from 76ers games and Wells Fargo Center events
The fan said his comments to Anthony were not racial, but a league source and multiple reports indicate that he called Anthony "boy" on multiple occasions.
Mike Murphy, who had been a 76ers season-ticket holder, called into the Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team show on 94 WIP Friday morning after being ejected from the Sixers’ Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Murphy’s face appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter after he had a verbal altercation with Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony, stemming from what could have been construed as racist remarks toward the player with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Murphy tried to clear the air on the morning show. But it was all for naught and he was banned indefinitely hours later from all future Sixers games as well as future events at the Wells Fargo Center.
An investigation revealed that Murphy, who kept referring to Anthony as “boy,” repeatedly shouted demeaning language at the player, which led to his ejection.
This wasn’t an isolated incident for Murphy, who has been previously warned and disciplined for inappropriate behavior and violations of the NBA Fan Code of Conduct.
He was identified as a season-ticket holder following Thursday’s incident. However, he had been ejected, warned and forbidden from purchasing tickets directly from the team on various occasions in the past. As a result, Murphy currently was not a season-ticket holder even though sources say he was a fixture at Sixers games.
He tried to give his side of the story on the radio.
“He comes down the court,” Murphy said of Anthony. “We’re blowing [them] out in the game. I say to him, ‘You’re a little boy. Let him shoot. Let him shoot.’ He looked at me. He smiles. I think he goes down to the other end of the court. He comes back down … and I say, ‘Let him shoot. He’s a little boy.’ And he lost his cool out of nowhere.”
At that point, Murphy was ejected from the game and exited the arena with a companion, who was Black. He added that he told Anthony that he was soft like butter while being escorted out of the court area.
Murphy said there was no racially derogatory nature intended in his usage of the word “boy.”
However, the word is troublesome when used to describe a Black man, which Anthony is. Historically, white people described Black men as boys to suggest they weren’t on equal footing.
Now there’s two different versions of how things happened.
A league source said Anthony was told, “Shoot the ball, boy.” After Anthony asked him what he said, the fan repeated, “Shoot the ball, boy.”
A league source said that Murphy denied calling Anthony a “boy” while speaking with arena security, saying he referred to him as a “bum.”
“It is what it is,” Anthony said. “Some things were said, unacceptable. I’m cool with fans heckling, fans talking trash, cheering for their team, booing the other team. I’m all for that. But when you cross certain lines, as a man that’s what you are going to see. That’s what you are going to get as you saw that. I’m sure that people in charge will deal with it accordingly.”
But Murphy told WIP his words were “good talk,” not racial. He said his job sitting that close to court is getting in players’ head. Murphy believes he accomplished that and Anthony ran with it.
“I don’t know how the Sixers cannot let me be a fan for saying little boy, because he is a little boy,” Murphy said. “I respect Carmelo.”
Shortly afterward, Anthony got into another altercation around the baseline and tunnel area near the Sixers’ bench. Joel Embiid broke up that altercation.
This time, a fan said something about Anthony’s ex-wife, La La Anthony.
“I’m not sure [what happened],” Embiid said. “I was just trying to calm the situation down because they kept going back and forth, and I really just wanted to go home and finish the game. That’s why I wanted to calm the situation down so we can just play and move on.”