The Utah Jazz hosted the Memphis Grizzlies for Game 2 of their second-round series on Wednesday, and in that game, Grizzlies star Ja Morant put in one of the best performances of his career. He scored 47 points to keep Memphis within striking distance of the seeded Jazz before finally falling. But Thursday, Andy Larsen from Salt Lake Tribune reported that there had been an incident in the stands involving Morant’s family and several jazz fans. Utah Jazz quickly released the following statement.
The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior. An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2. Arena security personnel responded, and the investigation resulted in the removal and indefinite ban of three Jazz fans. We apologize to all who were affected by this unfortunate incident and condemn the unacceptable behavior of the fans. The Utah Jazz is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment.
In an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Ja’s father Tee Morant said one of the fans made sexually explicit comments to his wife, while another said, “I’ll give you a dime and will watch you dance, my boy. A third fan shouted, “Shut up the f – up, b – -“, to Elder Morant. He added that there was some good-humored back and forth with some jazz fans, but these three went too far. “We were joking with a bunch of fans all around us during the game,” Morant said. “We had a good time. Her son Ja echoed the sentiment on Twitter.
Morant told McMenamin that fans he liked to joke with confronted those who made offensive comments. He plans to attend Game 5 in Utah.
Ironically, another story on this same topic erupted on Thursday when Adrian Wojnarowski d’ESPN reported that a $ 100 million lawsuit filed by two Jazz fans who were banned from gambling following an incident involving Westbrook in 2019 was dismissed by a Utah judge.
Bad fan behavior at NBA games is sadly rampant, and with rowdy fans only now returning to in-person games in droves after a season with very limited attendance, things got worse than ever. There is no excuse for such actions and the teams thankfully acted quickly by banning those responsible.