SALT LAKE CITY – One Utah Jazz fan wants the world to know the reputation the fan base has received to some degree is not accurate. Devin Deaton started a GoFundMe to raise $25,000 and donate it to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
In the Jazz’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook and a fan got into a verbal altercation. This resulted in a $25,000 fine for Russell Westbrook and the fan received a lifetime ban from all arena events hosted by the Larry H. Miller Group, who own the team.
“I just want the national media and everyone to know that Jazz fans and the Utah community in general, we’re not what that guy is portraying us to be,” said Deaton. “Most of us are super nice people. We’re moms, we’re dads, we’re friends, we do right by our fellow man, and we’re good neighbors.”
Deaton says he is a lifelong fan and his family have been long time season ticket holders with seats right behind the Gail Miller. He says he’s never heard any racist comments and so he doesn’t believe that fan represents the majority of those who root for the team.
“Now I’m not saying the guy didn’t say that,” said Deaton. “That’s not what I’m about.”
He just wants to use the platform to change the tune of the way people perceive Jazz fans.
“Let’s show our true colors,” Deaton said. “Raise $25K and give it to a charity, a good cause in hopes that people might see that as an apology to Westbrook and an overall ‘Hey this is who we really are.'”
He says the $25,000 mark was because that was what the NBA fined the Thunder point guard for his role in the altercation. He says he wanted to raise the money to a verified charity through the fundraising site and not give it back to Westbrook, but give it towards a good cause.
You can check out the fundraise here. As of Wednesday just before 7 P.M. it had raised over $7,000.
It is time to change the narrative on citizens of Utah, fans of the Jazz and those that call Utah ‘home’. We are not a bunch of redneck, racist, bigots. Most of us are dads, moms, friends, hard-workers, kind-hearted, do right by each other, help our fellow man, good neighbors and welcoming to all. I have been a Utah Jazz fan my entire life. My family has had season tickets on the 2nd row since I was 5 years old. I have been to 100+ Jazz games and had friendly banter with players from Charles Barkley to Russell Westbrook and every era in between. I have never personally experience racism or bigotry. I pride myself in being respectful to the players. I want the national media to see who we really are. -Devin Deaton
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