A lifelong Utah Jazz fan immediately sprang into action after Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) guard Russell Westbrook was issued a $25,000 fine by the NBA. On Tuesday, Devin Deaton launched the #HumaneJazzFans Go Fund Me campaign to “change the narrative on the citizens of Utah, fans of the Jazz and those that call Utah ‘home.’”
Westbrook was involved in a verbal exchange with Shane Keisel, a Jazz fan he accused of making racially offensive statements during a game on Monday.
Deaton wrote in the campaign’s description: “Jazz fans are not bigots. Jazz fans are not racist. Jazz fans are loyal to the Utah Jazz. In light of recent events between Russell Westbrook & a few outlying Jazz fans, I am calling for the true, loyal, welcoming & kind Utah Jazz fans to show our true colors.”
“Let’s raise $25,000—the same amount Russell Westbrook was fined—and donate it to the Human Rights Campaign,” Deaton continued.
Highlighting the true spirit of Jazz fans and Utah residents, the founder said, “We are not a bunch of redneck, racist, bigots. Most of us are dads, moms, friends, hard-workers, kind-hearted, do right by each other, help our fellow man, good neighbors and welcoming to all.”
The Utah Jazz organization announced Tuesday a permanent ban on Keisel based on “excessive and derogatory verbal abuse.”
Utah Jazz President Steve Starks said, “Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment. Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community.”
Keisel was accused of telling Westbrook, “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” The NBA star was filmed replying, “I promise you. You think I’m playing. I swear to God, I swear to God, I’ll f**ck you up. You and your wife, I’ll f**k you up.” The fan denied Westbrook’s claims, but was later found to have a series of violent, racist and xenophobic tweets about the OKC star.
The campaign has raised more than $11,000 in two days.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.