Three Incidents Lead to Arena Bans of NBA Playoff Fans | Athletic Business

Three Incidents Lead to Arena Bans of NBA Playoff Fans

Fans' return to NBA Playoff venues is widely seen as a good thing, but three separate incidents Wednesday leave one to wonder whether a refresher course in acceptable fan behavior may be in order, with three league members — the Jazz, Sixers and Knicks — banning fans based on their actions.

Here's a quick rundown of what happened under Wednesday's rare super flower blood moon:

The parents of Memphis Grizzlies' star Ja Morant complained of vulgar and racist comments by three individuals, all of whom were dealt with promptly by security at Utah's Vivint Arena, according to ESPN. Moreover, the Jazz banned the three males indefinitely.

"The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior," the Jazz said in a statement Thursday. "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.

"We apologize to all who were impacted by this unfortunate incident and condemn unacceptable fan behavior."

A fan who dumped popcorn on the Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook has been banned indefinitely from Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and stripped of his season-ticket status, ESPN reported.

"We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior," the Sixers said as part of their statement. "There is no place for it in our sport or arena."

Trae Young might have traded places with Westbrook. The Atlanta Hawks star was spit on during the fourth quarter of their game Wednesday at New York, prompting the Knicks to levy an indefinite ban on the individual, per Sports Illustrated.

The Knicks said in a statement Thursday that they "investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season-ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely."

"We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan's behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities."

As reported by ESPN, the NBA released a statement Thursday, saying an "enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced" at arenas during the playoffs.

"The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans," the league said. "An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."

In addition, the National Basketball Players Association released a statement calling on fans to "Respect our Players. Respect our Game."

"True fans of this game honor and respect the dignity of our players," the statement read. "No true fan would seek to harm them or violate their personal space. Those who do have no place in our arenas. And their conduct is appropriately evaluated by law enforcement just as if it occurred on a public street."

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