Jazz owner addresses home crowd prior to game, sends strong message in wake of incident involving Russ Westbrook and fan
On Monday night, Russell Westbrook with Jazz fans — marking the third time he’s expressed frustration in Vivint Smart Home Arena. Westbrook, who said that the fan used racist connotations toward him, proceeded to threaten to fight both the man and his wife.
While the incident was initially painted as Westbrook acting out, the Jazz fan ultimately came out looking like a liar, and Donovan Mitchell spoke out against the fan. The fan , and plans to sue Westbrook in retaliation. The Thunder star, meanwhile, incurred a $25,000 fine.
On Thursday night, Jazz owner Gail Miller made it perfectly clear that the Jazz don’t condone the fan’s action, giving a speech prior to the game.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our quote ‘fans’ conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players, and you as the best fans in the NBA,” Miller said.
“This shouldn’t happen,” she added. “We are not a racist community.”
“… When bad incidents like Monday night happen, it not only affects the player it’s directed at, it also affects our players,” she said later. “Other teams are not our enemies. They are our competition. Competition is a good thing.”
The Jazz, back in action on Saturday against the Nets (9 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), have made it clear they’re unequivocally backing Westbrook in the situation, and they clearly plan on cracking down on fans’ interactions with players to ensure they’re respectful. Miller’s emphasis on opposing players not being enemies is a welcome reminder for many fanbases, and her speech was met with cheers from Jazz fans and praise from the broadcast.