SALT LAKE CITY — After three people were banned from Vivint Arena for heckling the family of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, a local activist said the situation can be used as an opportunity to teach others about the values of respect and standing up against racism.
Kamaal Ahmad serves many roles in the Utah community, including as a coach, teacher and member of the Salt Lake City Racial Equity in Policing Commission.
Ahmad was disheartened to hear about Wednesday’s incident, in which vulgar and racist epithets were hurled at Morant’s parents as Morant’s team faced the Utah Jazz in a playoffs game.
Ahmad applauded the Jazz organization in taking immediate action to apologize for the incident and ban the three fans.
“That’s what people have to realize, when it comes to race all it takes is one situation like that to label you in a negative way. And that label is hard to get rid of, so what are we going to do in order to make sure that that doesn’t happen? To me, you can never act quick enough on saying ‘Hey, not here, not happening here. We can be competitive but you gotta go’,” Ahmal said.
Ahmad said he believes Utah is making progress toward inclusiveness and fewer incidents like the one at Vivint on Wednesday, but it’s up to each individual to make progress too.