It was a wild night in the NBA, but the headlines of the evening came from those attending games, not playing in them.
Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards had to be restrained after a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumped a bucket of popcorn on his head as he exited the floor with an injury. Westbrook, who has had multiple run-ins with fans in the past, attempted to go after the fan but was held back.
fan pours popcorn on Westbrook as he’s being assisted off floor with an injury pic.twitter.com/tGcn4kqRqq
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 27, 2021
“To be completely honest, this s*** is getting out of hand, especially for me,” Westbrook said according to ESPN. “The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f*** they want to do — it’s just out of pocket. There are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting …a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, you know what happens.
“In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does.”
The fan was ejected from the game during the Sixers 120-95 game two victory over the Wizards, and the Sixers organization put out a statement Thursday condemning the actions of the fan and banning him from the arena indefinitely.
After an investigation into the incident that occurred at last night’s game, we have determined that the person involved will have his season ticket membership revoked, effective immediately. In addition, he will be banned from all events at Wells Fargo Center indefinitely.
We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior. There is no place for it in our sport or our arena.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 27, 2021
It wasn’t the only disrespectful incident during the NBA’s slate of games Wednesday evening.
In a more disgusting act, a fan during the Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks game appeared to spit on Atlanta’s star point guard Trae Young.
Did a Knicks fan spit on Trae Young? ?
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 27, 2021
The Knicks organization confirmed that a fan did indeed spit on Young, and has been banned from Madison Square Garden indefinitely.
We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.
The interactions between Young and Knicks fans caused some controversy after game one of the series, when the home crowd in Madison Square Garden directed derogatory chants toward the star point guard throughout the game. To his credit, Young seemed unbothered by the chants in his postgame interview, but the spitting incident clearly crossed the line.
The NBA put out a statement on Thursday stating their intention to enhance the code of conduct for fans.
“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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