E-40, Kings say rapper’s ejection result of ‘misunderstanding’
Bay Area rap legend Earl “E-40” Stevens and the Sacramento Kings said in a joint statement Wednesday that a “miscommunication” led to the Golden State Warriors fan being ejected from Game 1 of the teams’ first-round NBA playoff series on Saturday night in Sacramento.
“After a series of thoughtful and transparent conversations, both parties agree that there was a miscommunication regarding the circumstances that occurred during the Kings vs. Warriors game on Saturday night,” the statement read in part.
The organization said it looks forward to “welcoming him back to our arena in the future.”
Stevens, in a statement Monday, said that “racial bias” led to his dismissal from a front-row baseline seat near his beloved Warriors’ bench during Saturday night’s game at the Golden 1 Center. Videos show the rapper talking to arena security in the fourth quarter before he was ejected. In his statement explaining his side of the events, the Vallejo, California, native said that after being “subjected to disrespectful heckling” throughout the game, in the fourth quarter he “turned around and addressed one heckler in an assertive but polite manner.”
Sources told ESPN’s Andscape on Monday that Golden 1 Center security believed Stevens stood excessively, blocking the view of fans behind him, and refused to comply with a warning after many complaints. An NBA source reiterated this sentiment, telling ESPN’s Andscape that Stevens bothered fans by “standing excessively” during the game and also violated the NBA fan code of conduct.
A source, however, said Stevens was never given a warning from Golden 1 Center security.
“Contrary to speculation, Mr. Earl “E-40″ Stevens did not stand excessively from his ticketed courtside seat; the outcome resulted from an unfortunate misunderstanding between both parties,” the two parties’ joint statement read.
Part of the racial concern from Stevens, a source told ESPN’s Andscape, was that while he was ejected, his friend who was attending the game with him, who is white, was not ejected despite watching the game in a similar manner.
“The Kings will continue to equitably enforce the NBA Fan Code of Conduct to ensure guests can comfortably enjoy games free of disrespectful heckling and other disruptive conduct,” the joint statement read. “The organization has been a longtime leader in promoting social justice and racial equality with a track record of measurable results and community impacts.”
Stevens did not attend Game 2 on Monday night in Sacramento. The renowned Warriors fan is expected to be back in his seats by the team bench for Thursday’s Game 3 at Chase Center in San Francisco, his spokesperson told ESPN.