Ja Morant: We Have to Protect Our Players and Families After Incident with Jazz Fans

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 28, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) brings the ball up court during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant spoke out Friday after his family was subject to inappropriate and offensive fan behavior two days earlier during a Grizzlies at Utah Jazz playoff game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.

Evan Barnes of the Commercial Appeal provided Morant's remarks.

Evan Barnes〽️ @evan_b

Morant: “We got to protect our players and our families”. Said he values having his family at games, he feeds off them there. Family should be comfortable and be able to “go where we go"

Evan Barnes〽️ @evan_b

As he said on Twitter last night, Morant saluted the Jazz fans who were positively engaging his family and alerted security. But he offered a solution to the NBA. For road games, have player's families all sit in the same section to avoid them individually surrounded.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon spoke with Morant's father, Tee Morant, about the incidents that have since led to three Jazz fans being indefinitely banned from Utah's home arena.

"Tee Morant said one fan made a sexually explicit remark to his wife, Jamie. Tee Morant, who was sitting a couple of seats over, confronted the man before security deescalated the situation, ejecting the Jazz fan.

"According to Tee Morant, another Jazz fan told him, 'I'll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.' Several other Jazz fans, who had been enjoying good-spirited trash talk with the Morants and their family friends, confronted that fan and alerted security. Tee Morant said he was shocked that the Jazz fan, who was ejected, made such a comment with the man's young daughter by his side.

"The third fan who was ejected yelled at Jamie Morant, 'Shut the f--k up, b---h,' Tee Morant said.

Those incidents capped an ugly night of fan behavior in the Association.

Earlier in the evening, a fan was shown throwing popcorn on injured Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook as he walked back into the locker room in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

A fan was also seen spitting on Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young in New York's Madison Square Garden.

Both of those fans were also indefinitely banned from those respective arenas.

Westbrook and Young both spoke out against that fan behavior.

Chris W. Crouse 🏙 @NBACrouse

Russell Westbrook speaks on the 🍿 incident in Philadelphia: <br><br>“We’ll see what the NBA does...I just don’t take that lightly.”@FortyEightMins | #DCAboveAll pic.twitter.com/sQWq5Pv7nN


Ahead of Game 3, Trae Young addresses the incident where a fan spit on him at Madison Square Garden. pic.twitter.com/4Y2vxGdcIp

The NBA released a statement following the incidents, promising an "enhanced" fan code of conduct.


The NBA Fan Code of Conduct can be found here: https://t.co/IhUgBUmjFp

As for Morant and the Grizzlies, they will welcome the Jazz into Memphis for Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

FedExForum will be the matchup's home, with the game slated for a 9:30 p.m. ET start on Saturday. The best-of-seven matchup is tied at one.