SALT LAKE CITY — The fan involved in a war of words with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has been permanently banned by the Utah Jazz.
The organization and the Larry H. Miller Group, which owns the team, released a statement Tuesday saying the ban is effective immediately. This includes all events at Vivint Smart Home Arena, which hosts Jazz home games but also a number of concerts and other events every year.
In the statement, the team says the decision was based on a thorough review of what happened.
“The organization conducted an investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts. The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct,” the statement says.
Statement from the Utah Jazz: pic.twitter.com/L3eYolvrpq
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 12, 2019
Initially, Shane Keisel, the man who was the recipient of a verbal lashing from Westbrook Monday night, told KSL Sports’ Jeremiah Jensen the banter coming from him toward Westbrook was innocent.
Westbrook, in a post-game interview, stated he perceived Keisel’s taunts as racially-charged. The NBA announced Tuesday the Thunder point guard was going to be fined $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
Other players came to Westbrook’s defense, including Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who issued a statement Tuesday saying the actions of Keisel do not reflect his experience with the state of Utah as a whole, and Rudy Gobert, who told ESPN he supported Westbrook.
We have to do better… we will do better! 💯 pic.twitter.com/heBO4z66TY
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 12, 2019
Keisel received both a verbal and written warning Monday night from league officials before the Jazz issued its decision the next day.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment,” said Steve Starks, president of the team. “Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community. We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward.”
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