SAN ANTONIO – Spurs guard Patty Mills responded on Monday to hearing a racial taunt directed towards him by a fan near the end of San Antonio’s game at Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.
While hosting a Black History Month event for children at the San Antonio Museum Art, Mills said the incident is not something new to him, but he wanted to take the high road and stay positive about his role in the community.
"I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been called a lot worse,” Mills said. “But It was a small example to shine a little bit of light on the fact that racism still does exists in sports today and we as a whole can do a lot more to be in a situation like this today, and help educate the kids to be able to be proud of who they are and where they come from, and have the feeling inside to be able to express all of that.”
Microphones inside Quicken Loans Arena caught a fan yelling the slur at Mills. Video of the incident was tweeted at Mills, prompting a response on Twitter from the Spurs guard.
Thanks @thats_Z_Truth. I am a proud Islander. Like my Jamaican Brothers, me & my family in the islands of the Torres Strait have experienced racial slurs for decades. Hope your efforts will enlighten this confused, hateful fan. #BlackHistoryMonth https://t.co/yH3nKlGv4A— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) February 26, 2018
On Monday, Mills said he would not let the slur deter him from being a role model for Indigenous Australians, children across San Antonio and around the world.
WATCH: #Spurs guard Patty Mills responds to racial slur directed at him during #Cavs game. Mills said it will not deter him from being a role model to youth. Patty's full comments, video (via @markmendez) here ➡️https://t.co/kW3X7OfK6T #KSATnews #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/p99aUKRQNF— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) February 27, 2018
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He hosted 75 elementary students from the Young Men's Leadership Academy and paid tribute to his heritage by visiting an exhibit displaying contemporary Australian Aboriginal art at the museum.
“I'm a very proud black Australian and throughout my basketball journey I found how important it is for me to be a role model for Indigenous Australians particularly young indigenous Australians, but I’ve been with the Spurs for seven seasons and for me to be in this community, I’ve also seen how important it is for me to be a role model for these kids, for blacks, Hispanics and minorities throughout San Antonio,” Mills said. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in and something I enjoy doing.”
Mills added the support he’s received from teammates and fans has been overwhelming.
Smh i was standing at the free throw line and didnt hear "hey jamaican dog" (now i do) but i did catch the second slur smh i looked at dude in disgust. He was sitting right under the basket first row smh what a shame 🤦🏽♂️ https://t.co/Wvg2eBc1T4— SLOWMO (@KyleAnderson5) February 26, 2018
"For me, it’s being able to educate kids to understand how to properly handle these types of situations, shine light on it, overcome it, take the high road, be proud of who you are and stand strong for who you are,” Mills said.