The racial slur was reportedly used against Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins during a Jan. 26 game against the Boston Celtics

By Maria Pasquini
March 29, 2019 01:52 PM
Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty

A Celtics fan has reportedly been temporarily banned from attending games at Boston’s TD Garden after using a racial slur against Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins earlier this year.

According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, during the Celtics-Warriors game on Jan. 26, a fan “muttered the n-word” at Cousins, 28.

Citing league sources, Haynes told The Spin that “DeMarcus informed one of the team security guys, and they got a hold of the security team at TD Garden.”

“I was told, ultimately, that the fan was banned for the rest of this season and next year,” he added.

The Celtics and Golden State Warriors did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

In an interview with Haynes on Yahoo’s Posted Up podcast that was published earlier this month, Cousins admitted that the racial slur had been used against him “on a few occasions,” according to Complex.

“I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back and I was still punished for it,” he added. According to NBC News, Cousins has been fined on four occasions for using profanity against fans.

However, the NBA player declined to mention where the incidents occurred.

“I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base,” he explained. “There are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that … [The league] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be, but, how many times am I supposed to ignore that.”

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The Celtics’ reported reaction has been compared by many with the actions of the Utah Jazz. Earlier this month, the team issued two lifetime bans over separate incidents involving Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook, according to the Washington Post.

The outlet reported that one incident stemmed from a fan calling Westbrook “boy” during the 2018 playoffs, while another stemmed from a verbal altercation he got into with a fan during a March 11 game.

Following the game, the point guard, 30, spoke to reporters, claiming that he was provoked to defend himself after a pair of hecklers told him to “get down on my knees like I used to” — a comment he felt was not only “completely disrespectful,” but also a “racial” attack on him and his family.

In an interview with Salt Lake City NBC 5, one of the hecklers, Shane Keisel, said that he thought he was having “fun” with Westbrook by yelling to “ice those knees” up.

In an official statement regarding Keisel’s lifetime ban, the Utah Jazz said they “will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There is no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect.”

Westbrook, who verbally threatened to “f— up” his hecklers during the altercation, was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his comments.

If I had to do it over again, I would say the same exact thing,” Westbrook, said in a statement reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. “I truly will stand up for myself and my family and my wife and my mom and my dad every single time. I expect anybody else to do the same.”

Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller went on to address fans on Mar 15, sharing that she was “extremely disappointed that one of our quote ‘fans’ conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players and you, as the best fans in the NBA.”

“This should never happen. We are not a racist community,” Miller added. “We believe in treating people with courtesy and respect as human beings. From time to time, individual fans exhibit poor behavior and forget their manners and disrespect players on other teams. When that happens, I want you to jump up and shout ‘Stop.’ We have a code of conduct in this arena. It will be strictly enforced.”