E-40, the much beloved Bay area rapper, is a longtime fan of his team, the Golden State Warriors, and was excited to be in attendance at game 1 of the playoff series against the Sacramento Kings. But, the night took an abrupt turn after he was ejected from the game and escorted out of the Golden 1 Center arena in Sacramento by security guards.
Subsequently, E-40 released a statement citing “racial bias” as the reason why he was “humiliated” and kicked out of the game. He wrote: “On Saturday night, I was subjected to disrespectful heckling over the course of the Warriors-Kings game in Sacramento. During the fourth quarter, I finally turned around and addressed one heckler in an assertive but polite manner.”
The “Tell Me When to Go” rapper then laid out how “shortly thereafter, Kings’ security approached me, assumed that I instigated the encounter and proceeded to kick me out of the arena,” continuing “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 that I was at fault.”
E-40’s statement continues, “I’ve attended countless NBA games throughout my lifetime and have always prided myself in my professionalism, so this experience has been jarring. I was absolutely humiliated by the Kings’ security team and I’m calling on the franchise to investigate the appalling conduct that transpired.”
An avid courtside fan for the Warriors, E-40 is akin to Spike Lee with the New York Knicks, and “consistently receives love from the players whenever he attends a game.” The rapper was even invited to join in after the Warrior’s 2022 NBA championship win when they went to the White House.
Now that the clip of this incident has gone viral via social media, “players, fans and NBA reps are speaking out in his defense.”
Klay Thompson, Warriors guard, weighed in, “It’s unfortunate. I love 40. He’s been our biggest supporter for years. I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench,” adding, “In my time knowing him, he’s always been respectful. He’s always been considerate of those around him so it’s very weird to see and I hope it’s resolved.”
Former NBA player turned broadcaster Jalen Rose declared that the Kings’ staff owes the rap legend an apology. “I’m really disappointed in the fact that my brother E-40 Fonzarelli was ejected from the game,” he said. “I’ve known him for over 30 years and he don’t even move like that, he moves with integrity.”
Rose went on, “These security officers in particular totally fumbled this scenario and mishandled it and overreacted.” Yhe sports analyst added that “[t]he Kings compounded by putting out a statement and basically saying he was standing up excessively. But they never gave him a warning for that.”
Rose concluded: “The Sacramento Kings should be issuing an apology to E-40 for escorting him from a game and not disciplining the other fan that was heckling him and making him leave a game where he knows how to comport himself.”