NBA fans banned over 'inappropriate' incident with star's family

·4-min read
Pictured here, Memphis NBA star Ja Morant warms up before a game.
The ugly incident revolved around Ja Morant's family members during Memphis' Game 2 loss against Utah. Pic: Getty

The Utah Jazz say they have a "zero tolerance" policy around the bad behaviour of fans after hitting three supporters with indefinite bans after an ugly incident against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Utah ejected and indefinitely banned three fans for a "verbal altercation" reportedly involving the family of Grizzlies star, Ja Morant during Game 2 of their Playoffs clash.

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The Jazz released a statement condemning the acts of the fans and warned the franchise will come down hard on any fans in breach of its guidelines.

"The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behaviour. An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2," the Jazz said.

"Arena security staff intervened, and the investigation resulted in the removal and banning of three Jazz fans indefinitely.

"We apologise 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.

It's understood the three banned supporters were guilty of heckling the family of Grizzlies star Ja Morant. 

The Memphis guard appeared to confirm that was the case in a subsequent tweet.

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The incident occurred during the Jazz's 141-129 win over the Grizzlies to even the first-round series 1-1, though Morant finished with 47 points.

What the Jazz fans reportedly said to get banned

ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that the three fans were ejected after it's claimed they made racial, derogatory and explicit comments to Morant's family.

"Tee Morant said one fan made a sexually explicit remark to his wife, Jamie. Tee Morant, who was sitting a couple of seats over, confronted the man before security de-escalated the situation, ejecting the Jazz fan," the ESPN report stated.

"According to Tee Morant, another Jazz fan told him, 'I'll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.' Several other Jazz fans, who had been enjoying good-spirited trash talk with the Morants and their family friends, confronted that fan and alerted security. Tee Morant said he was shocked that the Jazz fan, who was ejected, made such a comment with the man's young daughter by his side."

"The third fan who was ejected yelled at Jamie Morant, 'Shut the f— up, b—,' Tee Morant said."

This is the second time this week the use of "boy" as a racially derogatory remark has come up in the basketball world, as James Wade, head coach of the WNBA's Chicago Sky, alleged a ref had said the same to him on Tuesday.

Seen here, WNBA coach James Wade gestures happily on the sideline.
WNBA coach James Wade claims he was called 'boy' by a basketball official. Pic: Getty

Behaviour of fans an issue in NBA Playoffs

This year's NBA playoffs was widely anticipated for the return of fans after a postseason spent in isolation at Disney World. 

In the span of 24 hours, the behaviour of some of those fans has become a public talking point, with three supporters banned after ugly incidents at matches.

It started with a Philadelphia 76ers fan getting tossed and banned for dumping popcorn on injured Wizards guard Russell Westbrook.

Hours after that controversial incident, the New York Knicks banned a fan for spitting on Trae Young during the Playoffs match against the Atlanta Hawks.

In response to the Westbrook and Young incidents, the NBA announced an enhanced code of conduct on, promising vigorous enforcement:

"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 in a statement. 

"An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."

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