BOSTON — The Boston Celtics issued a statement Friday explaining their decision to ban a fan for two years for being verbally abusive toward Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins at the game between the two teams at TD Garden in January.
“On January 26, we were alerted by DeMarcus Cousins that a fan had used racially offensive language towards him. Immediately upon receiving the complaint, the fan, who was a minor, was ejected,” the team said in the statement. “The following day, per our policy regarding any reported fan behavior complaint, the team initiated an exhaustive investigation of the incident that included reviewing video from multiple angles and identifying and interviewing numerous fans, security personnel, and police in the immediate vicinity.
“In the course of this investigation, we were able to conclude that the fan had been verbally abusive toward the Golden State bench, but none of the interviewed parties were able to verify the use of racially offensive language, and video evidence proved inconclusive. Based on our investigation, the fan was issued a two-year ban from all Celtics games, and is also subject to lifetime probation pursuant to our policy. The punishment for any corroborated discriminatory language used towards any player, employee, or fan at a Celtics home game is a lifetime ban.
“We were in contact with the Golden State Warriors through this process, sharing our action plan and the final discipline. We express the deepest regrets that this incident happened to DeMarcus, as such behavior violates everything the Boston Celtics have always stood for.”
Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that Cousins had been the target of racially offensive language by a fan during the game here on January 26, one Golden State won 115-111.
Earlier this month, the Utah Jazz banned a fan for life after he was involved in a verbal back-and-forth with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook after video surfaced of the incident. The team then banned a second fan for life after repeatedly calling Westbrook “boy” last season after video of that incident also came to light.
Two years ago, outfielder Adam Jones — then playing with the Baltimore Orioles — accused fans at Fenway Park of using racist language and throwing a bag of peanuts at him.