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The Utah Jazz have banned three fans indefinitely for reportedly heckling the family of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant.
The return of fans for the 2021 NBA Playoffs have been universally lauded, but things turned ugly all across the league on Wednesday night. From a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumping popcorn on Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook to a New York Knicks fan spitting on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, all eyes have been on fan behavior. Those two fans were not the only ones to receive an indefinite ban on Thursday.
The Utah Jazz announced that they had banned three fans indefinitely for a verbal altercation during Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the fans were ejected from Vivint Arena for heckling the family of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
You can read the team’s full statement in Larsen’s tweet below, as well as Morant’s reaction to the news:
Jazz ban three fans for reportedly heckling Ja Morant’s family
The Jazz, much like the 76ers and Knicks, wasted little time in issuing their punishments to those fans. Following the incidents that occurred on Wednesday, the NBA released a statement on Thursday morning that they will be enforcing a fan code of conduct at games.
“The return of more 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’s official statement reads, via Shams Charania of The Athletic. “An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”
On Wednesday night, Morant shined in Memphis’ 141-129 loss to Utah. Through 43 minutes, Morant scored 47 points (on 15-of-26 shooting from the field and 15-of-20 from the free-throw line), dished out 7 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds.
The NBA wanted to have more fans in attendance for the playoffs, especially with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. Not even a full week into the NBA Playoffs, and teams already have to discipline fans who forgot how to behave in public.