Hawks Investigating Juliana Carlos, Fans Allegedly Cursing at LeBron JamesFebruary 2, 2021
The Atlanta Hawks are investigating an incident in which four fans sitting courtside allegedly used obscenities when heckling LeBron James during Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Chris Kirschner and Jovan Buha of The Athletic spoke to team CEO Steve Koonin, who said it's unclear how long the investigation will take.
"I do not know how long this will take," Koonin said. "It's the first time I've experienced something like this. There's a protocol. The NBA has a code of conduct (placard) on every chair in the building. This is an NBA matter that obviously we're involved in. There are NBA security people at every game at every arena in the country."
Juliana Carlos, one of the fans ejected from the arena, took to Instagram on Monday night to share her side of the story. She said James and her husband, Chris Carlos, exchanged words and she got involved when LeBron became disrespectful.
Speaking to reporters after the game, James said he didn't believe the fans should have been ejected:
"Oh, well my guy tonight, I don't want to say he went overboard, but he went a little bit out of bounds. Too close to comfort for me. And I said my piece, and we could've moved on. But I think it was so close to the officials, I think the official heard it as well, what he had said, and it kind of got blown out of proportion. It's just like sometimes on the floor when two guys get into a scuffle or get into a little jostling, the refs kind of come in and try to break it up really fast, and it looks like it's bigger than what it really is. That's what it pretty much was tonight. But the difference is we're on the court, and we're not having any alcoholic beverages.
"So they might've had some alcoholic beverages on the side, so it made them feel a little tougher than what they really are, I would say."
The Hawks are one of 10 teams currently allowing fans into arenas. Fans are required to wear masks at the games, and Koonin said fans who sit courtside are required to test negative for COVID-19 at the arena before the game. Carlos was seen pulling down her mask to yell at James during the incident.
Koonin said the Hawks do not plan on changing their current policy to allow fans into the arena. He said he does not see the "correlation" between allowing fans to attend games and the incident.
Past Instagram posts show Chris Carlos insulting James, and his wife said he has a "problem" with the Lakers star for some undisclosed reason.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he expects the NBA to be part of the Hawks' investigation