Philadelphia fans were at it again, bringing the national spotlight to the fan base for all the wrong reasons.
As Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook left the floor during the fourth quarter with an ankle injury as his team was being handily beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers, a fan at Wells Fargo Center dumped popcorn on the All-Star, who had to be restrained by staff from confronting the person.
The 76ers announced on Thursday that the unidentified fan had his season-ticket membership revoked.
“We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior,” a statement from the Sixers read. “There is no place for it in our sport or arena.”
“This was classless, unacceptable behavior, and we’re not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center,” the arena’s president of business operations, Valerie Camillo said. “We’re proud to have the most passionate fans in the country and the best home-court and home-ice advantage around, but this type of behavior has no place in our arena.”
A furious Westbrook — who has had past incidents at Wells Fargo Center — did not hold much back when speaking about the incident after the game, which the Sixers won 120-95 to take a 2-0 series lead.
“To be completely honest, this s— is getting out of hand, especially for me,” Westbrook said. “The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f— they want to do, it’s just out of pocket. There are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting … if a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, you know what happens.”
In 2017, a fan was ejected from his courtside seat at Wells Fargo Center for flipping off Westbrook.
“In these arenas, you have to start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does.”
The NBA, in turn, released a statement on Thursday afternoon that included an “enhanced fan code of conduct” that includes “ejection without refund, revocation of their season tickets, and/or prevention from attending future games. They may also be in violation of local ordinances resulting in possible arrest and prosecution.”
“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials, and our fellow fans,” the NBA’s statement read. “An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”