Jazz owner: 'We are not a racist community'
LOS ANGELES, USA – Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller spoke to the crowd prior to the team's 120-100 NBA win over Minnesota to address the kerfuffle between Russell Westbrook and their fans.
Miller said they're "not a racist community" and requested the Jazz fans to show the "highest standard of decency" in an emotional speech on Thursday, March 14 (Friday, March 15, Manila time) in Salt Lake City.
Westbrook had an expletive-laden bust-up with a Jazz fan last Monday in a confrontation that was caught on video and posted on social media. (WATCH: Russell Westbrook revives beef with Utah Jazz fans)
Utah permanently banned the fan, Shane Keise, from all arena events, while the NBA also slapped Westbrook a $25,000 fine for his involvement. (WATCH: Jazz ban fan for life, but Westbrook also fined $25,000 over bust-up)
"We are not a racist community. No one wins when respect goes away," said Miller, who has owned the team for 34 years.
Gail Miller addressed tonight's crowd ahead of tip-off pic.twitter.com/nJcmPD2kD4— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 15, 2019
Westbrook, the 2017 league MVP, said he had been subjected to racist abuse by the fan.
"The young man and his wife in the stands told me to get down on my knees like you used to," Westbrook said.
Keisel denied using a racist remark, saying he said, "sit down and ice your knees."
"Other teams are not our enemies," said Miller. "They are a competition. Competition is a good thing. It allows players to showcase their talents and it allows fans to appreciate, cheer for, and enjoy those who share their talents with us."
Players from both teams applauded Miller's speech.
Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points, Jae Crowder had 18 for the Jazz in the win over the Timberwolves. – Rappler.com