Utah Jazz Owner Gail Miller assured the country that Utah is “not a racist community,” in the wake of an incident between a fan and Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook.
Ahead of the match-up between the Jazz and the Timberwolves at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Miller took the mic to tell those in attendance that she abhors the incident between the player and a Jazz fan, TMZ reported.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our, quote, ‘fans’ conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players, and you as the best fans in the NBA,” Miller said over the mic.
“This should never happen. We are not a racist community,” she added.
Miller also pointed out that there is a “code of conduct” in the arena and she intends to strictly enforce it.
“No one wins when respect goes away,” Miller told the crowd.
The incident that sparked Miller’s reply occurred on March 11 when Russell Westbrook threatened to beat up a Jazz fan in the stands.
At the end of the second quarter, Westbrook began shouting from the bench at a fan in the stands. A video of the incident show Westbrook repeatedly saying, “I’ll f*ck you up! You and your wife!”
Things get heated between Russell Westbrook and Utah Jazz fans again. “I’ll f*ck you up. You and your wife,” he says. Not sure what these fans said to him, but he also had issues with Jazz fans during the postseason. pic.twitter.com/LquwRmLVNy
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 12, 2019
Westbrook insisted that the fan was yelling racist taunts at him and he refused to apologize for threatening the fan. He was later fined $25k for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
For his part, the fan involved in the altercation, Shane Keisel, denied that he swore at Westbrook or made any type of inappropriate racial comment. He has been banned for life.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.