Utah Jazz players praise team owner Gail Miller for pre-game speech

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) waves to the crowd as he leaves the court following an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah Jazz players were quick to praise the team's owner, Gail Miller, for her speech Thursday before the game with the Minnesota Timberwolves on court-side conduct.

Miller's comments stemmed from Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook's verbal altercation with a Utah fan on Monday.

Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell said he thought it was amazing that Miller backed the players and was forward, "open and honest," about the riff that allegedly included profanity and racial slurs.

Jazz Forward Jae Crowder told 2News:

We're totally behind what management is doing and trying to move forward with the situation.

Miller sent an email to fans on the Jazz’s mailing list reminding them about the NBA Fan Code of Conduct prior to her 3-minute speech in the Vivint Smart Home Arena clearly stating there is a zero-tolerance policy for poor behavior and disrespect of other team's players.

She said in part:

I am 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 backed up those words with her organization issuing lifetime bans to two fans for alleged "racist" and "inappropriate" behavior.

Jazz Center Rudy Gobert said Miller talked to the players before the game and said she has a "great heart."

A fundraiser to raise $25,000 has been started by other members of the Utah community earmarked for the Human Rights Campaign.

The $25,000 goal reflects the amount Westbrook was fined by the NBA for "directing profanity and threatening language to a fan."

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