Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller doesn’t want anything like last March’s Russell Westbrook incident to happen again.
So her organization, the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, reached out to other sporting institutions around the state, including the University of Utah, BYU, Utah State University, Weber State University, Real Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Bees. They even wanted to include figures like Olympic medalist Nathan Chen, pro golfer Tony Finau, and even former Salt Lake Bees player turned 2-time Major League Baseball MVP Mike Trout.
The result was the “Lead Together” campaign and this public service announcement video:
In March, Jazz fan Shane Keisel was banned from Vivint Arena events after security video revealed he used racially-tinged language at then-Oklahoma City guard Westbrook while he was on the bench. Westbrook responded by threatening Keisel. Later that week, video surfaced of another Jazz fan using inappropriate language toward Westbrook during 2018′s playoff series between the Thunder and Jazz. He, too, received a lifetime ban.
To create the campaign, the Jazz also reached out to local diversity organizations.
“We appreciated the willingness of the Utah Jazz organization to not only seek advice but embrace it. Our conversations were frank, instructive and productive,” Emma Houston, inclusion director for Salt Lake County’s Office of Diversity Affairs, said in a prepared statement.
Junior Jazz, the youth basketball organization, will also take part in the campaign.
“When we first started having conversations as a group across Utah sports, we realized that our experiences were all too common,” Elaina Pappas, vice president of marketing and fan development for the Jazz and a former student-athlete, said. “We created ‘Lead Together’ after we looked in the mirror and realized we could all do better.”