Bay Area rapper E-40 is claiming he was discriminated against over race after being humiliatingly booted during the fourth quarter of the Sacramento Kings’ home game against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday and an investigation is being launched.
E-40’s real name is Earl Stevens and he is considered to be a Warriors “superfan” just as fellow rapper Drake is with the Toronto Raptors, according to Mediaite. He’s such a big fan of the team that he recorded a Warriors-themed version of his song “Choices” when the team vied for the championship in 2015.
The Warriors were in Sacramento facing off with the Kings in the first game of their playoff series. About halfway through the fourth quarter, a fan videoed the moment that the rapper was escorted out of the Golden 1 Center.
E-40 can be seen speaking with a security guard who seems to be telling him to leave. As the rapper begins to walk out of the arena, he turns around and yells at another fan. He can be seen taking a few more steps as he continues to walk out before turning around one more time and pointing at the fan and exchanging words with them.
On Sunday, the rapper released a statement saying that he was responding to a heckler in the stands before he was subjected to “racial bias” from security.
“On Saturday night, I was subjected to disrespectful heckling over the course of the Warriors-Kings game in Sacramento,” he recounted. “I finally turned around and addressed one heckler in an assertive but polite manner. Yet, shortly thereafter, Kings’ security approached me, assumed that I instigated the encounter, and proceeded to kick me out of the arena.
“Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that – despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur – racial bias remains prevalent. Security saw a disagreement between a black man and a white woman and immediately assumed I was at fault,” he asserted.
E-40 proceeded to demand an investigation by the Kings’ organization concerning the incident.
Statement from the Kings on E-40: "The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made." https://t.co/5PUB9eF016
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 16, 2023
“I was absolutely humiliated by the Kings’ security team,” he claimed, “and I’m calling on the franchise to investigate the appalling conduct that transpired.”
NBA insider Shams Charania reported a few hours later that the Kings were doing just that.
“The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made,” a statement by the team announced.
A separate incident on Sunday also made headlines as the Los Angeles Clippers took on the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Clippers won the game 115-110 but what was noticed was a player getting into it with a heckler.
Los Angeles Clippers point guard Russell Westbrook confronted a heckler by going into a suite area to call him out during halftime.
Twitter denizen Blake Christopher uploaded a video showing the exchange. Westbrook marches into the suite and confronts a man sitting on a couch with a security guard between the two of them. He yells at the man to “watch your mouth, motherf***er!” The man jumps up and tells Westbrook, “Take it like a man.”
Russ is such a good dude. pic.twitter.com/Tec7lj7BE0
— Blake Christopher (@BCH66223) April 17, 2023
The point guard told the man to watch his mouth several times before leaving the suite and returning to the game.
Eddie Gonzalez, who is a co-host of the podcast “The Etcs with Kevin Durant,” claimed to be there during the exchange. According to Gonzalez, the man called Westbrook “Westbrick,” a derogatory nickname that’s been given to Westbrook for his shooting struggles.
I was right there… Dude called Russ westbrick. And yeah….
0 got the last laugh on the court too
— Eddie Gonzalez (@bansky) April 17, 2023
A reporter with AZCentral named Duane Rankin pointed out that opposing players actually walk through the area where the suite is to get to the locker room.
I'm sure you've seen the Russell Westbrook/#Suns fan interaction by now, but visiting players have been going through the club area to the visiting lockerroom all season.
It's been used as a short cut to the visiting lockerroom. #ClipperNation #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/HGpOUu0105
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) April 17, 2023
The Phoenix Suns are now investigating the incident just as the Kings are investigating theirs.
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