Two fans have been revoked indefinitely from the NBA arenas following their inappropriate behaviour towards Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook and Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young during two separate games on Wednesday.
The incident with Young happened during the Hawks’ game with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Apparently, the fan spat at Young to show his disrespect towards the player.
“This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue,” the Knicks said in a statement on Thursday.
As far as things with Westbrook go, the fan poured Popcorn over his head as he was going off with an ankle injury during the Wizards’ game with the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Centre. The 76ers later announced that the fan has been identified and his season ticket has been revoked.
“There are certain things that cross the line,” Westbrook told reporters after the game. “In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players. We’ll see what the N.B.A. does.”
“The return of more N.B.A. 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. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved,” the N.B.A. said in a statement on Thursday.
Westbrook, who is a Black, also said that the fan, who appeared to be a White, hurled racial and disrespectful slurs at him. On top of being spat at, Young also said that the crowd continuously made fun of his hair during Game 1 and 2 of the Hawks’ playoff series at Madison Square Garden.
The incidents received widespread reactions from players of almost all NBA teams. “By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! “There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse!” Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted.