Fan who dumped popcorn on Westbrook banned from Wells Fargo Center, 76ers season tickets revoked

LeBron James reacted on Twitter saying players want to know who threw the popcorn.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Popcorn thrower gets 76ers season tickets revoked, banned from Wells Fargo Center
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The Philadelphia 76ers have taken action against the fan who dumped popcorn on Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook during Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia 76ers have taken action against the fan who dumped popcorn on Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook during Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs in Philadelphia.

In a statement Thursday, the 76ers identified the fan as a season ticket holder. The team says, "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, the 76ers say the fan will be banned from all events at the Wells Fargo Center indefinitely.

Westbrook exited Wednesday night's game with a right ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.

As he left the floor limping to go to the locker room for treatment, a fan appeared to pour popcorn on Westbrook as he went down the tunnel. It angered Westbrook, who had to be held back by multiple team officials and Wells Fargo Center security staff.

A fan seated near the tunnel was escorted out by security shortly after the incident.

"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," the 76ers said.

The Wells Fargo Center issued a stern warning Wednesday night shortly after the incident.

"This was classless, unacceptable behavior, and we're not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center. We're proud to have the most passionate fans in the country and the best home-court and home-ice advantage around, but this type of behavior has no place in our arena," said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for Wells Fargo Center.

Speaking to reporters, Westbrook said he thought the fan should be banned.

"I wouldn't come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens," Westbrook said following the game, which the Wizards lost 120-95 to fall into an 0-2 series hole. "In these arenas, you gotta start protecting the players. We'll see what the NBA does."

LeBron James reacted to the incident on Twitter.

"By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There's cameras all over arenas so there's no excuse! Cause if the (shoe) was on the other (foot). #ProtectOurPlayers," James tweeted.

The NBA released the following statement on Thursday morning:

"The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it's critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."

Fans are reacting to what unfolded in the fourth quarter.

"Don't do it. Also, we don't need to talk about it for the next year," said Nick Steller of Bella Vista.

But it is already the talk of the nation. Just ask Sports Talk 97.5 The Fanatic radio host Anthony Gargano.

" I woke up to the nation's pundits in sports ripping Philadelphia like we're a bunch of jackals," said Gargano.

Our fanbase's bad reputation can be traced back to incidents like a fan throwing a beer bottle at Ryan Howard, Flyers fans throwing memorial wristbands onto the ice, and no one ever forgets fans throwing snowballs at Santa.

"Since the snowball incident, D batteries, we go back to having a bad attitude. I think just think it's the love and the passion that we have," said Mark Owens of West Philadelphia.

Gargano argues Philly fans are not unique in incidents like this.

"It's unbelievable on the very same night in New York at Madison Square Garden and Knicks fan spits on a player," said Gargano. "Unfortunately it's never going to change because it's the easy narrative: The city that booed Santa!'

Unfortunately, we've shifted focus from what our players have been able to accomplish, onto this bad actor.

Sixers play Game 3 in Washington D.C., Saturday.

ESPN contributed to this report.