The New York Knicks announced they have indefinitely banned a fan for spitting on Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young during an NBA playoff game on Wednesday.
In a statement tweeted Thursday, the team said that it had identified the fan in question after conducting an investigation. That person is now banned from entering the team’s New York City home stadium, Madison Square Garden, the Knicks said.
“We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior,” the statement read. “This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.”
Hours after Wednesday night’s game, Young retweeted a widely circulated video that purported to show someone spitting on him while he was standing near the sideline.
At least two other offensive fan-related incidents occurred at NBA games on Wednesday night.
A Philadelphia 76ers fan at the city’s Wells Fargo Center dumped popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook as he was exiting the game with an ankle injury.
“This shit is getting out of hand, especially for me,” he told ESPN after the game. “The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the fuck they want to do ― it’s just out of pocket.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke out about the incident on Wednesday night, tweeting that he and other players wanted the fan who threw the popcorn to be identified.
The 76ers released a statement on Thursday noting that the person who threw popcorn at the Wizards guard is now barred indefinitely from all events at the stadium.
The Utah Jazz said Thursday that they had indefinitely banned three of its fans after the father of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant told ESPN they had made vulgar and racist remarks to him as he watched the game at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
“My family should be able cheer for me [and] my teammates without getting inappropriate shit said to them,” Morant tweeted on Thursday.
The NBA addressed the wave of fan-related incidents in a statement on Thursday, reminding attendees of its code of conduct now that stadiums across the country have increased attendance capacities after hosting fans virtually during the pandemic.
“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 all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans,” the NBA said.
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