The fan accused of mouthing a racial epithet to DeMarcus Cousins vehemently denies the accusation, according to the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
On Thursday night, Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reported the Celtics banned a fan for two seasons after Cousins had heard the individual mutter the N-Word at him. The team released a statement confirming the incident, but said it couldn’t verity Cousins’ claims. As a result, the Celtics issued a two-year ban with lifetime probation. The owner of the seats was given lifetime probation as well.
The fan is younger than 18 years old.
"In the course of this investigation, we were able to conclude that the fan had been verbally abusive toward the Golden State bench, but none of the interviewed parties were able to verify the use of racially offensive language, and video evidence proved inconclusive,” the statement reads. “Based on our investigation, the fan was issued a two-year ban from all Celtics games, and is also subject to lifetime probation pursuant to our policy. The punishment for any corroborated discriminatory language used towards any player, employee, or fan at a Celtics home game is a lifetime ban.”
Himmelsbach provides more context on the Celtics’ inquiry, which unfolded in the days following the reported incident on Jan. 26. The source told Himmelsbach they reviewed all possible video that could’ve provided clarification and also interviewed fans sitting around the alleged perpetrator. The investigation lasted one week.
Given the hazy facts surrounding the incident, the Celtics opted for the two-year punishment. Himmelsbach reports the team takes Cousins at his word, but didn’t issue a lifetime ban, because it couldn’t corroborate the allegation.
The Celtics were in communication with the Warriors and Cousins throughout the process, but he didn’t want to publicize the episode, Himmelsbach says.