The New York Knicks announced that they have banned a fan who spat at Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young on Wednesday night during Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
The Knicks issued a statement Thursday afternoon.
“We investigated the matter and determined that this client, who is not a season ticket holder, spat on Trae Young and for that reason is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire organization of the Atlanta Hawks for the behavior of this fan. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our place. We have released the information to the proper authorities, “the team said.
Young, however, refused to press charges against the fan who spat at him.
“We appreciate Garden’s response to the incident and Trae’s focus remains on his teammates and Game 3,” Young’s agent Omar Wilkes said.
This was the second fan-related incident to occur on Wednesday; A Philadelphia fan threw popcorn at Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook as he headed down the tunnel. Philadelphia announced punishment for that incident Thursday, as that fan was also indefinitely expelled from the Wells Fargo Center.
The incident directed at Young occurred with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter as he was putting the ball into play on the sideline closest to the fans. The video had a wide circulation on social networks.
Young has been the center of attention for Knicks fans, some of whom chorus “F — Trae Young” for the first two games.
On Thursday morning, Young’s father Ray Young tweeted: “This needs to be controlled. @ Russwest44 got popped popcorn and spat at @TheTraeYoung. I can deal with all the chanting about my son, he comes with that. But this needs to be addressed. ” Trae Young also retweeted the video, writing “Damn … Crazy!”
Gotta get this under control. @ russwest44 gets popcorn thrown on him & @TheTraeYoung gets spat on. I can deal with all the chants about my son, it comes with it. But this needs to be addressed.@NBAonTNT @NBA @spn @nyknicks @NBATheJump https://t.co/0WoO5jtAc2
– Ray Young (@rayfordyoung) May 27, 2021
The NBA released a statement Thursday on the application of the league’s code of conduct in the playoffs: “The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that everyone let us show respect for the players, officials and our fellow fans. An enhanced code of conduct for fans will be vigorously enforced to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved. “
Atlanta Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan said he was not aware of the incident until Thursday morning, but reiterated that “there is no room for that” in the game.
“You have to draw a line,” McMillan said. “Unfortunately, I think we live in a society where people actually no longer have respect. In no way should it be allowed or should it happen at a sporting event or any event you come to watch a game at. I think New York did what he should have done in that situation. It’s something that shouldn’t happen. “