The Knicks released a statement Thursday afternoon.
“We have investigated the matter and determined that this client, who is not a subscription holder, has indeed spat on Trae Young, and for this reason he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. . We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization. for the behavior of this fan. It was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our room. We have provided the information to the appropriate authorities, ”the team said.
Young, however, refused to press charges against the fan who spat on him.
“We appreciate the Garden’s response to the incident and Trae remains focused on his teammates and Game 3,” said Young’s agent Omar Wilkes.
It was the second fan-related incident to occur on Wednesday; a Philadelphia fan threw popcorn at Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook as he walked into the tunnel. Philadelphia announced the punishment in that incident Thursday, as this fan has also been banned indefinitely from Wells Fargo Center.
The incident against Young came with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter as he approached the ball at the sideline closest to the fans. The video was widely distributed on social media.
Young was the center of attention for Knicks fans, some of whom chanted “F – Trae Young” throughout the first two games.
Early Thursday morning, Young’s dad, Ray Young, tweeted: “I have to master this. @ Russwest44 gets popcorn thrown at him and @TheTraeYoung gets spit on him. I can handle all the chants on my son, it comes with it. But that needs to be sorted out. »Trae Young also retweeted the video, writing “Shit… Crazy!” “
I have to get this under control. @ russwest44 gets popcorn thrown at him and @TheTraeYoung gets spit on. I can handle all the chants on my son, it comes with it. But it needs to be addressed.@NBAonTNT @NBA @espn @nyknicks @NBATheJump https://t.co/0WoO5jtAc2
– Ray Young (@rayfordyoung) May 27, 2021
The NBA released a statement Thursday on enforcing the league’s code of conduct during the playoffs: “The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought a lot of excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs. playoffs, but it is essential that we all show respect. for players, officials and our fan friends. An improved code of conduct for supporters will be vigorously enforced to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved. “
Atlanta Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan said he was not aware of the incident until Thursday morning, but reiterated “there is no room for this” in the game. .
“You have to draw a line,” McMillan said. “Unfortunately, I just think we live in a society where people really don’t respect anymore. Under no circumstances should this be allowed or should happen at a sporting event or really any event where you come to watch a game. I think New York has done what it should have done in this situation. It is unwarranted. And that shouldn’t happen. “
Young did not speak on filming for the Hawks on Thursday afternoon, but his teammates who spoke have made their feelings about the situation very clear.
“What happened with Trae or what happened with Russell Westbrook, you know the fans are passionate but there’s no room for any of that. The Knicks’ response to his ban, I hope it will last a long time, if not forever, ”Hawks guard said Kevin Huerter. “There is no place for that. These fans, if you take down the barriers and take away the security, if you’re face to face with an NBA player and think you’re going to do something like that, I doubt it’ll go your way. People have to remember this. “
Atlanta forward John Collins, who says he fought against spitting people during basketball games as a child, admitted he didn’t know what the NBA might do with it. other in these situations, but still thinks it is “unacceptable” behavior.
“I don’t even get it like, you come to a basketball game to watch a person play basketball, where do you think of spitting on that person?” How disrespectful, ”Collins said.
On Sunday, Young said he understood the story of the players entering Madison Square Garden and painted as the villain by Knicks fans.
“Like I said, I take that as a compliment, to be honest with you,” Young said after the Hawks won in Game 1. “Obviously, I’m doing something right if you hate me that much. I hug him and try to focus on my team and try to help my team win. Ultimately, we’ll have the final say if we do this. “
The Knicks and Hawks meet in Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews contributed to this report.