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May 27, 2021

Sixers fan who poured popcorn on Russell Westbrook banned from Wells Fargo Center

The Sixers fan who poured popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he left the court in Game 2 has been banned from the Wells Fargo Center indefinitely, the Sixers announced on Thursday morning.

The fan, who chose to dump popcorn on Westbrook as he left the floor with an ankle injury on Wednesday, was previously a season ticket holder, the team revealed in a statement:

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. In addition, he will be banned from all events at Wells Fargo Center indefinitely. 

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. [Sixers]

Westbrook, who has been greeted with boos nearly every time he touches the ball in Philadelphia, was in the process of receiving a polite ovation from the fans when the as-yet-unnamed fan sent him into a fit of rage. Asked about the incident after the game, Westbrook pulled no punches in his assessment of the situation, demanding for the NBA to send a message.

"To be completely honest, this s*** is getting out of hand, especially for me. The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f*** they want to do, it's just out of pocket," Westbrook said after the game. "Any other setting — you know, I'm all for fans enjoying the game and having fun, it's part of sports, I get it. But there are certain things that cross the line, and in any other setting, I know for a fact that fans wouldn't come up, guy wouldn't come on the street pouring popcorn on my head, because he would know what'd happen. Guy wouldn't come up to me talking mess about my kids, my family on the street because the response would be different. In these arenas, they got to start protecting the players, man."

During and after the game, Westbrook was joined by teammates, coaches, and peers around the league condemning the fan, with the outrage reaching as far as Lakers star LeBron James. Backcourt mate Bradley Beal called the act, "disgusting," and head coach Scott Brooks expressed his desire to see the fan banned from all NBA games moving forward to send a message.

The incident was the lone blemish in what was otherwise a terrific night for the Sixers and their fans, as the Sixers head to D.C. nursing a 2-0 lead over the Wizards. 

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