Jazz news: Owner Gail Miller sends message to Utah fans after incident with Russell Westbrook
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Jazz owner Gail Miller sends message to Utah fans after incident with Russell Westbrook

Jazz, Thunder, Russell Westbrook, Gail Miller

On Monday night, playoff intensity between two Western Conference contenders went too far. Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook became involved in an altercation with a Utah Jazz fan.

The fan allegedly hurled racial insults at Westbrook until the point guard snapped and fired back a profanity-laden response. Both sides in the dispute were punished for their actions. The fan received a lifetime ban from the Jazz, while the league fined Westbrook $25,000.

Fans, players, coaches and others around the game were quick to respond to the incident. Most recently, Jazz owner Gail Miller penned an email addressed to the fans of the team:

In her message, Miller stressed that the Jazz will continue to enforce the league’s Fan Code of Conduct. She specifically noted its restrictions on hate speech, racism and foul or abusive language. She also told fans to continue to be loud and support their team, but to do so in a respectful manner.

This is clearly the right move for Utah. The fan involved in the altercation with Westbrook is in no way representative of the fan base as a whole. This reminder to fans was a necessary PR move and a public call to action to improve the fan base and its actions.

Monday night’s game between the two teams ended in a 98-89 Oklahoma City victory. The Thunder, at 42-26, are tied for the third seed in the West. Meanwhile, the Jazz are 38-29 and clinging to the seventh seed.