Tuesday night a Magic fan named Franz Hanning was caught on video heckling longtime NBA referee Joe DeRosa at halftime of the Eastern Conference Finals game between Orlando and the Boston Celtics at Orlando’s Amway Arena.
While Hanning was shouting at DeRosa from behind the halfcourt scorer’s table, the referee shocked the fan by tossing him a basketball. Hanning then immediately, softly tossed the ball back to the referee.
After receiving the ball from Hanning, DeRosa signaled arena security to descend on Hanning as the ref went to the locker room for halftime. Hanning was then reportedly “relocated” to another seat. (It’s not known what DeRosa’s intent was in calling for police to handle the situation.)
The incident is a big story in Orlando today, with local media outlets seeking comment from the NBA and Hanning on the situation. While the league this afternoon would only confirm that it is continuing to “review” the situation, Hanning has released a statement about the incident. A statement which might surprise you.