SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz fans we spoke with around Vivint Smart Home Arena say they feel horrible for Gordon Hayward after seeing how badly he was hurt. One fan says he laughed after hearing about the injury, but, after seeing its seriousness, changed his tune. He says, “It was almost like, ‘Jazz Curse!’ but then I thought, ‘You know what? That’s not cool.’ That sucks for him and his family.”
Someone left a makeshift “memorial on the Jazz Note outside the arena. It was simply two of Hayward’s jerseys from his Jazz days, a bouquet of flowers and couple of lit candles. One woman who saw the picture believed it was meant to be a tribute to the former Jazz player. She says, “I thought it was someone who wanted to show their appreciation for what he did when he was here.”
However, Arena Spokesman Frank Zang says security officials spoke directly who placed the items there, and, “It was determined that their action was done in a mean-spirited manner,” he says. Security officials then took the “memorial” down.
There is some debate about whether or not it really was a jab at Hayward’s injury. One man contacted KSL, tweeting that it was not meant to be mean spirited, but arena officials took it that way.
Hayward’s broken ankle will be on the minds of his former team mates who wish him well. Forward Joe Ingles says he had a sick feeling in his stomach while he watched the video, and he spoke with Hayward shortly after it happened. He says, “Like Dante [Exum], he’ll work out what he needs to do to get back. I’ve got no doubt he’ll be back and better than he was before.”
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