Ja Morant speaks out on Utah Jazz fans harassing his family (Video)

Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz

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Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant spoke out about the Utah Jazz fans who were harassing his family in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Ja Morant has had himself a tremendous start to the 2021 NBA Playoffs. In his very first playoff outing, the 21-year-old point guard put up 26 points in a surprising 112-109 win over the top-seeded Utah Jazz. He followed that up with a masterful 47-point performance in Game 2.

It’s truly unfortunate the off-court harassment and racism his family endured in the stands of a basketball game has overshadowed an otherwise fun series.

During Game 1 of this first-round playoff matchup between the Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies, Morant’s family was in attendance at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Three Utah fans were kicked out by security and subsequently banned from the arena for racist and downright vulgar comments made to Morant’s family, and the Grizzlies superstar gave his account of what happened.

Ja Morant recounts what happened in Game 1

“I’ve heard about Utah before,” he said. “I invited a lot of people, double-digits for sure, and I know where they sit during the game, so anytime I get in my groove and getting to talking I always look to them because I know where they’re at and I know they’re probably talking the same just like me, so I actually get a lot of energy from them. I went on a little run in that third quarter, and I just happened to look up at my people and I see them talking with security.

“I told them really don’t even cheer no more because obviously that affected some people in the stands. Obviously it bothered me — after the game I went back to the hotel, sat with my family and they told me actually what was said. I got kind of frustrated because I was telling them to stay cool, but if I knew what they said, I would have just let my family handle business instead of trying to calm them down.”

According to reports, a trio of Jazz fans made sexually explicit and racist comments toward the family, including telling Morant’s father that “I’ll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.”

The Jazz, the NBA and Utah coaches and players have obviously all condemned these disgusting comments, but it’s sad Morant had to tell his family to stop cheering for him while he played, that he had to ask his family to be the bigger people in the face of such ugliness, and that on top of playing the No. 1-seeded team in basketball, Morant has had to even worry about these off-court problems during his first trip to the postseason. What should be a fun, laser-focused time for Morant has now become engulfed in concern for his family and a larger discussion about racism in sporting arenas.

“Obviously it’s tough on all of us, but we move forward,” he said. “We’re going to continue to speak up and try to stop this, but we’re glad Utah did what it did to those fans.”

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