The Salt Lake Tribune reports three Utah Jazz fans were ejected and banned indefinitely from the Vivint Arena following an incident involving the family of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant during Game 2 Wednesday night.
“The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior. An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2. Arena security staff intervened, and the investigation resulted in the removal and banning of three Jazz fans indefinitely,” a statement from the Utah Jazz reads. “We apologize to all who were impacted by this unfortunate incident and condemn unacceptable fan behavior. The Utah Jazz are committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment.”
Ja’s father Tee Morant spoke with ESPN Thursday night about three separate incidents which he said went “beyond heckling,” and were “straight up disrespectful.”
Tee said one Jazz fan made a sexually explicit remark to his wife, Jamie, who confronted him before security intervened and ejected the fan. Someone else yelled, “Shut the f--- up, b----,” at Jamie. Another told Tee, “I’ll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.” Several other Jazz fans who were engaging in some light-hearted ribbing Morant’s family confronted the fan and alerted security.
What is alarming about that latter interaction is that Jazz fan Shane Keisel used similar language against Russell Westbrook in 2019, saying, “Get on your knees like you’re used to,” and calling him “boy,” the same offensive term used during the interaction with Tee Morant. Speaking on Keisel’s comments, Westbrook considered them to be “completely disrespectful” and “racial.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier tonight that Keisel’s $100 million lawsuit against Westbrook over their tense 2019 interaction has been dismissed by a Utah judge. He and girlfriend Jennifer Huff claimed defamation and infliction of emotional stress.
This latest news from Utah completes the regrettable trifecta of incidents involving fans in each of last night’s slate of NBA playoff games exhibiting deplorable behavior. The 76ers fan who dumped popcorn on Westbrook as he was being escorted to the locker room with an injury has been “banned from all events at Wells Fargo Center indefinitely.” The Knicks announced that the fan who spit on Trae Young has also been banned from Madison Square Garden.