NBA teams crack down on unruly fans

(NEW YORK) — The New York Knicks have banned a fan for spitting on Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young during Game 2 of their playoff series on Wednesday night. It comes as the Philadelphia 76ers banned a fan for pouring popcorn on Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook in the same night.

The Knicks addressed the incident in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely,” the team said. “We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.”

Young has declined to press charges against the fan, according to an ESPN report.

The Hawks star did take to Twitter to make his feelings about the incident known. In one tweet, Young wrote, “Keep ya mask on my boy #ThatsJustChildish.”

In an earlier tweet, Young commented on a video of the incident saying, “Damn… Crazy!”

The Philadelphia 76ers took similar steps, banning a fan after they poured popcorn on Westbrook as he was heading to the locker room.

“After an investigation into the incident that occurred at last night’s game, we have determined that the person involved will have his season ticket membership revoked, effectively immediately,” the Sixers said in a statement. “In addition, he will be banned from all events at Wells Fargo Center immediately. We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior. There is no place for it in our sport or arena.”

Westbrook spoke to reporters after the game, saying that fan behavior was getting “out of hand.”

Young’s father, Rayford Young, called on the league to address both incidents shortly after Wednesday night’s games.

“Gotta get this under control,” Young wrote on Twitter.

The league released a statement hours later, on Thursday afternoon.

“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. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”

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