SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans want to show their true colors after what happened between a fan and Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook.
A group of Utah Jazz fans hopes to raise $25,000 for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group, following the incident at Vivint Arena earlier this week where Westbrook was heckled by a Jazz fan. The fans created the fundraiser on GoFundMe and are promoting it through the hashtag #HumaneJazzFans.
Westbrook had a verbal argument with the heckler during the Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder matchup. Westbrook said the incident began when the fan told him "to get down on your knees like you're used to," although the fan disputes this.
"To me, that’s just completely disrespectful. To me, I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate and insensitive,” Westbrook said after the game.
The Utah Jazz permanently banned the fan from Vivint Arena.
The GoFundMe page seeks to raise $25,000, which is the same amount the NBA fined Westbrook for using obscenities toward the fan.
The page says it hopes to allow "true, loyal, welcoming and kind Utah Jazz fans to show our true colors."
Devin Deaton, a Jazz fan from Sandy, told the Deseret News in an email that he wanted to use the fundraiser "as the engine to get the message out to the world and change the national narrative on citizens of Utah, fans of the Jazz and those that call Utah 'home.'"
"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," he said.2 comments on this story
He added, "I want people to know that people from Utah are good people. Fans of the Utah Jazz are class acts and the best fans in the NBA!"
The page raised $13,305 by Thursday afternoon.
A separate GoFundMe wanted to raise $25,000 to pay Westbrook’s fine. That page is no longer available.
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox called for all Utah Jazz fans to use the incident as a teachable moment for proper fan behavior.