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The Utah Jazz is facing national backlash after they ordered four rabbis to remove signs that read, “I’m a Jew and I’m Proud.”
Rabbi Avremi Zippel was at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Monday night to see the team face the Dallas Mavericks.
“He and three other rabbis took the signs to protest the involvement of Kyrie Irving, now a Mavericks player, who was suspended from the Brooklyn Nets in 2022 for tweeting a link to a movie widely considered to be antisemitic and for initially failing to disavow it,” NBC News reported.
The Jazz said in a statement that the signs were in breach of the team’s audience code of conduct, which maintains games must be played “without distraction or disturbance.”
“During an out-of-bounds play in the first quarter of yesterday’s Jazz game against the Dallas Mavericks, there was a group sitting courtside whose signs sparked an interaction with a player that created a distraction and interfered with the play of game,” the statement said.
The statement said a “part-time employee” who told the rabbis that the content of the signs was problematic was “incorrect.”
“The issue was the disruptive interaction caused by usage of the signs, not the content of the signs,” the statement said.
Trent Staggs, the mayor of Riverton, who is now running for the U.S. Senate, said on my national radio program that he’s not buying the team’s explanation.
“This seems to be it wasn’t so much the sign as it was the message, and that’s unfortunate,” the mayor told me.
Staggs, a Republican, said it smacks of censorship. And he rightly pointed out that the NBA was more than willing to let players participate in Black Lives Matter protests — kneeling for the national anthem.
“Their pro-China propaganda that they allowed to flourish in the NBA is just quite remarkable,” Staggs said. “So the NBA and teams in particular here like the Jazz are so willing to let other types of political speech flourish and be given so much attention. And yet something like this, they selectively they selectively censor.”
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