Jazz owner Ryan Smith provided complimentary tickets, lodging and car service for a group of family and friends of Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant for Game 5 Wednesday in Utah, Morant’s father said. , Tee, to ESPN.
The Jazz indefinitely expelled three fans from the Vivint Arena last week after Ja Morant’s parents were subjected to racist or vulgar remarks during Game 2.
“It was a nice gesture from the Jazz,” Tee Morant said by phone. “It was unfortunate. It was a few fans, most of them were great and cheered along with us.”
The family group will not include Ja’s mother, Jamie, according to Tee Morant. She will watch the game at the family home near Memphis. The Grizzlies are down 3-1 in the series.
“She said her anxiety doesn’t allow her to take it,” Tee Morant said, citing the stress created by the bullying during Game 2.
Smith, who is in his first season as a Jazz owner, approached the Morants to make the offer before the Western Conference first-round series returned to Salt Lake City. Smith publicly apologized to the Morant family Thursday night after Tee Morant revealed details of the incidents to ESPN.
“Memphis Grizzlies and the Morant family … We are ashamed and sorry,” Smith tweeted. “The @utahjazz has zero tolerance for offensive behavior. We are committed to creating a competitive and respectful environment.”
Several other members of the Jazz organization, including coach Quin Snyder and All-Star point guard Donovan Mitchell, also publicly apologized to the Morant family after Game 2. Dwyane Wade, the former NBA superstar who became a minority owner of the Jazz in April, emphasized the importance of addressing this inappropriate behavior.
“If we turn our backs on this type of behavior, we are all part of the problem,” Wade tweeted. “This will not be tolerated! Apologies once again to Ja and his family.”