Gail Miller Addresses Crowd Before Jazz Game
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller addressed the crowd and implored Jazz fans to show respect to everyone in the arena.
“As the owner of the Utah Jazz, I feel it is incident to take this opportunity to express some thoughts and concerns about the unfortunate event that happened Monday night,” said Miller to begin her statement.
Continuing on for nearly four minutes, Miller implored fans to cheer the Jazz with passion while maintaining a high level of respect for the visiting team. She also asked fans to stand up and speak out against any conduct by others that could be considered a violation of the arena’s code of conduct.
“No one wins when respect goes away. Let’s keep a supporting atmosphere that our players know and deserve,” concluded Miller.
Miller’s comments came after a Jazz fan had an ugly incident with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook on Monday.
An extremely heated conflict between Westbrook and the fan arose after playful bantering turned racist during the second quarter of the Jazz loss. According to Westbrook, the fan yelled something racially-charged and offensive at the former league MVP. This sparked an explosive outburst by Westbrook, filled with profane language.
The fan, who spoke with KSL Sports after Monday’s game, denied having said anything that crossed the line with Westbrook.
After investigating the matter, punishments were handed down to both Westbrook and the fan. The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 while the fan was given a permanent ban from Jazz games and Vivint Smart Home Arena by the organization.
Miller’s statement was greeted with a standing ovation by entire arena, including applause from both teams.