Jazz Owner Miller Gives Inspiring Speech on the Heels of Player-Fan Controversy
By now, the NBA world has become well aware of the conflict that arose between Russell Westbrook and a Utah Jazz fan.
Earlier in the week, the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Jazz in Salt Lake City, which was overshadowed by an interaction that the Thunder superstar got involved in with a fan and his wife. Westbrook accused the fan of being racist, who at what point told Westbrook to “get down on [his] knees like [he] used to.”
The fan has since been permanently banned from Jazz games. A second fan who was involved in a verbal confrontation with Westbrook back in 2018 received a ban as well.
In light of the recent controversy, Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller made a public statement at centre-court prior to the start of a Jazz home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
“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. This should never happen. We are not a racist community. We believe in treating people with courtesy and respect as human beings. From time to time, individual fans exhibit poor behavior and forget their manners and disrespect players on other teams. When that happens, I want you to jump up and shout ‘stop.’ We have a code of conduct in this arena. It will be strictly enforced,” said Miller.
Additionally, the NBA sent out a memo to each of the 30 teams regarding player-fan interaction in an effort to keep both sides safe.
“Other teams are not our enemies. They are our competition. Competition is a good thing. It allows players to showcase their talents and it allows fans to encourage, appreciate, cheer for and enjoy those who share their talents with us,” added Miller.
A very admirable speech, Miller could very well have sent out a series of tweets, but her decision to make a live speech was an exceptional way to voice a powerful message.