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The National Basketball Association on Thursday said it will “vigorously” enforce its “enhanced” fan conduct policy after an incident Wednesday night in which Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him.
The unidentified fan who dumped popcorn on Westbrook was banned indefinitely from Wells Fargo Center and had his Philadelphia 76ers season ticket membership revoked, the team announced Thursday morning. The incident took place during Philadelphia’s playoff game against the Washington Wizards.
“We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior,” the Sixers said in their statement. “There is no place for it in our sport or arena.”
As Westbrook was leaving the game Wednesday due to suffering an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, a fan dumped the popcorn on the player, who tried to confront the fan while being held back by staff.
The NBA on Thursday said now that fans are being allowed back into arenas as the pandemic conditions improve, there will be no tolerance for such behavior.
“An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved,” read the NBA statement.
Fans have gradually been allowed back into arenas in the latter part of the spring. The Los Angeles Lakers, who play against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, have been allowing about 2,000 fans into Staples Center, which usually seats 18,997. Assorted basketball and baseball stadiums have expanded section capacity for fans who have been vaccinated.
Fan dumping his popcorn on Russell Westbrook, who's walking off after twisting his ankle. Fan should be banned for life. No room for this. pic.twitter.com/DXatcX8l9i
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) May 27, 2021
The NBA issued the following statement today: pic.twitter.com/AVR9zXrkm9
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 27, 2021
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