Sometimes having a popular rapper as your “global ambassador” can be detrimental to your team.
The NBA’s Toronto Raptors learned this lesson recently as the franchise was fined $25k for something the “Worst Behavior” rapper said during his OVO Fest concert in Toronto. After announcing that star Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2016, was in attendance, Drizzy then led the crowd in a chant of “KD” before making the following statement to Durant and the crowd:
You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.
What followed was the energetic crowd giving Durant a rousing round of applause and showing of love that lasted several minutes.
Though probably done as a innocent showing of love and admiration, Drake’s affiliation with the Toronto franchise makes his actions of “publicly attempt[ing] to recruit Durant” an instance of tampering according to league rules, who handed down the fine.
A Canadian newspaper called The Globe and Mail initially reported that the NBA offered to rescind the $25k fine if the Raptors ended their partnership with the rapper but both The Raptors and NBA deny this claim. The NBA released a statement clarifying that while Drake was not asked to be removed, he must follow the league’s mandated anti-tampering rules:
At no point did we suggest his title be removed but we were clear that as long as he acted as a representative of the team, he is subject to the league’s rules.