UTAH JAZZ

Players, Utah Jazz Ownership React After Three People Banned From Vivint Arena

May 28, 2021, 10:40 AM
Ryan Smith - Dwyane Wade - Utah Jazz...
Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, left, and Dwayne Wade, who bought a share of the team, watch a game at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – NBA players and members of the Utah Jazz ownership group reacted after three individuals were banned from Vivint Arena following an incident involving the family of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.

The incident occurred during Game 2 of the first round playoffs series between the Grizzlies and Jazz on May 26.

Game 2 Incident

During the contest, three individuals were removed from the arena by security after a verbal altercation occurred in the stands with members of Morant’s family, according to ESPN.

“I know heckling,” Morant’s father, Tee, told ESPN. “We were doing that the whole game. But that’s different than heckling. That’s straight up disrespectful. That was too far out of line. You don’t say nothing like that heckling. That’s beyond heckling.”

On the following day, the Jazz organization announced that the three individuals received indefinite bans.

“The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior. An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2,” the Jazz said in a statement. “Arena security staff intervened, and the investigation resulted in the removal and banning of three Jazz fans indefinitely. We apologize to all who were impacted by this unfortunate incident and condemn unacceptable fan behavior. The Utah Jazz are committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment.”

Reactions to Game 2 Incident/Bans

Shortly after the bans were announced, NBA players and members of the Jazz ownership group shared their thoughts on the situation.

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies guard

“as they should . my family should be able cheer for me & my teammates without getting inappropriate s*** said to them,” Morant first tweeted about the individuals getting banned.

He later posted that his family experienced “love from all the other jazz fans who were around them” and that “those 3 just went too far.”

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz guard

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell said he was glad to see the people banned and that “they should never be allowed back.”

“I’m glad those fans were banned and they should never be allowed back…. this is ridiculous!!!” Mitchell tweeted. “The fact that these words are being thrown around to players and there families is ridiculous! Enough is enough smh!”

Ryan Smith, Utah Jazz ownership

Jazz majority owner Ryan Smith posted a tweeted directed toward the Grizzlies and the Morant family. Smith said the organization was “embarrassed and sorry” for the incident.

“Memphis Grizzlies and Morant family… we are embarrassed and sorry,” Smith posted. “The @UtahJazz have zero tolerance for offensive behavior. We are committed to creating a respectful, competitive environment.”

Dwyane Wade, Utah Jazz ownership

Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade quote tweeted Smith’s tweet and shared an additional apology.

“If we turn our backs on this kind of behavior we’re all apart of the problem. This will not be tolerated!” Wade posted. “Apologies once again to Ja and his family.”

The Grizzlies and Jazz are tied in the series, 1-1. Memphis will host Utah for Game 3 on Saturday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on ESPN, AT&T SportsNet, and 97.5 FM.

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