SALT LAKE CITY — Google “Utah Jazz Fans” and you will find some unflattering headlines.
For example: ‘Utah Jazz: The Most Disgusting Fans in the NBA’
The most recent bad press stems from an argument on Monday night between a fan and Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook said the fan hurled racist remarks at him. After investigating, the Jazz banned the fan from the arena.
“I wanted to make sure the national narrative wasn’t spun, you know, that all Jazz fans are racist and bigots,” said Devin Deaton, a long time Jazz fan with nearly courtside season tickets.
He says even in the days when the Jazz played Kobe Bryant—who was arguably one of their most-hated opponents—he never heard someone cross the line with opposing players.
“I’ve never heard people use racist or vulgar comments,” said Deaton.
And he doesn’t believe the actions of one fan, should reflect on all Jazz fans.
“I don’t know what this guy said. If he said something terrible, well that’s him. But that’s not all us Jazz fans. That’s not the Utah community in general,” said Deaton.
Deaton launched a GoFundMe page with the hashtag #HumaneJazzFans. In short, he’s asking fans to donate to show the world they are not defined by the acts of one person.
“I don’t know what the guy said and that’s not what it’s about. I just want to make sure people know not all Jazz fans are like that,” said Deaton.
The campaign is seeking to raise $25,000, the same amount Russell Westbrook was fined by the league for his role in the argument. All of the money is donated directly from GoFundMe to the Human Rights Campaign.
As of early Wednesday night, the campaign had topped $8,000 and had been featured online on Sports Illustrated’s webpage and the Bleacher Report.