SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz don’t want another incident like Monday’s verbal altercation between a fan and Russell Westbrook to happen again.
As part of an ongoing process to eliminate such fan behavior, the Jazz sent out an email to fans ahead of Thursday’s home game against Minnesota outlining how they expect fans to act.
“In light of recent events, we want to address fan behavior and how we choose to express the passion we all have for the Utah Jazz,” the email by Jazz owner Gail Miller and team president Steve Starks read. “Whether it’s online through social media, at gatherings with friends and family, or at the arena on game nights, we help the world Take Note of our team. Because of this, we all have a shared responsibility to represent the Utah Jazz and the community in the right way.”
The Jazz said they will strictly enforce the NBA Fan Code of Conduct with “zero tolerance.”
“We do not permit hate speech, racism, sexism or homophobia,” the email read. “We also do not allow disruptive behavior, including bullying, foul or abusive language, or obscene gestures. Violators may be subject to ejection and other penalties, including a lifetime ban.”
The fan involved in the altercation with Westbrook received a lifetime ban from all Vivint Arena events. The email also stressed for other fans to be on the lookout for offenders and to report any such violations to arena personnel.
A separate email was sent to season-ticket holders stating that they were responsible for the actions of those who use their tickets.
Whether it’s online through social media, at gatherings with friends and family, or at the arena on game nights, we help the world Take Note of our team. Because of this, we all have a shared responsibility to represent the Utah Jazz and the community in the right way.
–Jazz owner Gail Miller and team president Steve Starks
“You’re accountable for whoever sits in your seats — whether you're at the game or not — and we reserve the right to revoke your season tickets for any violation of the NBA Fan Code of Conduct,” the email read.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the incident has created a healthy dialogue between the team’s players, coaches and management, and ideas and being formed to better handle the type of speech that occurred on Monday.
“I think all those things are healthy and getting all the details of everything,” Snyder said.”But suffice it to say, the Millers are aware and everybody’s taking steps and generating ideas and plans.”
But the Jazz don’t want their fans to lose their passion, either. They just don’t want anyone to cross the line again.
“Now, let us be clear: we want you to be loud,” the email said. “You’re the reason we have the best home-court advantage in the league, and we want to keep it that way. We have a unique arena that provides the crowd with close proximity to the court and an increased ability to affect the game. Players and coaches on both teams can hear you, and we expect all fans to respect them—as well as the game officials, arena employees, and other fans at the arena.
“We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward.”