The Phoenix Suns clamped down on fan behavior days after Devin Booker rewarded another fan whose viral moment rallied those following the team’s pursuit of a conference finals appearance.
On Sunday, Suns and Los Angeles Clippers fans were seen brawling on the concourse of the Suns’ home arena. The trash-talking between the two sides escalated after a man in a Kawhi Leonard jersey threw a punch at a Suns fan.
A ton of punches were thrown, and on Monday the Suns released a statement condemning the behavior.
“The Phoenix Suns are enjoying a deep run in the NBA postseason, and while the intensity on the court continues to heat up, we still expect Suns fans to keep their cool off the court. We will not tolerate the violence that erupted following Sunday’s game at Phoenix Suns Arena,” the statement read.
“We consider Suns fans to be the best in the world. Fighting or taunting to incite violence is not reflective of our organization or how fans from across the Valley should be represented. We’re better than that. Let’s work together to provide a model fan experience that is fun, enthusiastic and respectful.”
The latest incident came after a Suns fan fought a Nuggets fan as Phoenix was taking on Denver on the road in the conference semifinals. The fan went viral for telling the Nuggets fan’s friends “Suns in 4” after pummeling the man.
Booker rewarded the fan’s behavior. His reps told ESPN on Thursday that they were able to locate Nick McKeller, a lifelong Suns fan, and send him an autographed jersey and a ticket to a conference final game.
McKeller told FOX 10 Phoenix last week that he was simply acting in self-defense.
“There are other videos floating around showing them pulling on my jersey and pouring a beer on me. From there, instincts kick in,” he said. “As a person, I’m not a fighter. I’d rather give you a hug and a high five, and go on our way. All acting out of self-defense. I’d never promote or condone physical violence.”
The Nuggets fan in question spoke out about the incident and admitted to pouring beer on McKeller’s head. He said he only came away with a scratched nose.
Fan behavior has been something the league has kept an eye on in this postseason. Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and Trae Young were among those on the receiving end of abhorrent actions.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.