Joel Embiid and Danny Green Clarify Their Comments About Sixers Fans

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers media day presented us with an opportunity to speak with Joel Embiid and Danny Green regarding comments they made about Sixers fans over the summer.

Green, you’ll recall, went on John Clark’s podcast and delivered a message relating to Ben Simmons. He said this, in part:

CLARK: “Do you think the crowd, and Philly, can have an effect on someone like Ben (Simmons) in those moments?”

GREEN: “For sure. It has an effect on everybody, and I think that’s something that needs to change in the city. I love our fans, but when things aren’t going well, they can’t turn on you. That’s the one thing I would disagree with or dislike. Some guys use it as motivation, some guys have a chip on their shoulder, but I think that needs to change. They need to be riding with us, regardless of how things are going.

“We’re the No. 1 team in the East, still playing well, and in some games they’ll boo us – that’s part of the culture here, part of their way of showing they love us – but with a guy like Ben, and other guys, I think they need to stick behind them and stick by them as long as they can, until the horn blows.

I asked Green to elaborate on that, and here’s what he said:

Green: “We love our fans. They hold us accountable and want us to be great. And we’re gonna do the same. I felt there were times in the regular season that were shocking to me, and I had never seen it before, us getting booed, and that was me learning Philly. But our fans were great all year and there are no issues with them. They want us to be better and we’re going to want them to be there for us. We’re gonna need them, need them to win, and there’s no issue at all. I don’t know what comments you’re referring to. Some things always get blown out of proportion. 

Crossing Broad: You’re just talking about the booing specifically, nothing else?

Green: Yeah just in the regular season, it was a couple of things that shocked me. But in terms of players, we’re always going to back our teammates. We’re always going to back our brothers. You never know what someone is going through. I’m not saying (fans) haven’t given these guys a fair chance, because I haven’t been here long enough to say that. But regardless, you don’t turn your back on family. You don’t turn your back on your brothers. We’re gonna be there for them regardless of what happens at the end of the day. There are bigger things in life than basketball.

As for Embiid, he came out at the beginning of September to push back on some of the Ben Simmons reporting that was taking place. He said this on Twitter:

In expounding on that, here’s what Embiid had to say:

“The first thing I’ll say is that the fans have the right to act the way they want to. I personally would not want to be in another city because I like Philadelphia. And I’m honest about this; they (the fans) care. They come to games. They’re going to know (everything about a team) because they’re so invested. It’s only fair for them to be pissed off when we lose. Be mad. It doesn’t matter. I could be averaging 50 points and we lose and they’re still going to be mad at me and that’s just the way it is. They work hard for the money they make, and we get paid based on them coming to games and buying jerseys and I’m grateful for it. I think they have the right to voice their frustrations.

When I said ‘be better,’ I’m looking at it as a whole. I think about what can happen in the future. I think about whether we have another max salary open that we’re chasing. A free agent that wants to come here. I don’t want the fans to kind of scare people off. Everybody knows Philly is a tough city. They love sports. They’re going to tell you how it is and I love it. I personally don’t have any problems with it. But I also look at it in a way that not everybody is built the same. The way I handle it is different from a guy who might not wanna come here. They might not want to play under that type of pressure. They might not play well and might think it’s not the best place for them to be because of the fans. That’s what I meant by that.”

Interesting quote. Good quote. He doesn’t want the Philly reputation to scare off potential on-court partners. But if you want to read between the lines, him saying “not everybody is built the same” could be interpreted to mean that other players are soft. It depends on how you want to parse that. Do Philly fans need to cool it a bit, and be more empathetic to players? Or do the players need to toughen up?

A question for the philosophers.

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