Bay Area hip-hop legend and Golden State Warriors fan E-40, also known as Earl Stevens, was ejected from the playoff game between the Warriors and Kings in Sacramento, California, on Saturday night. E-40 alleges that “racial bias” was behind his removal from the arena.
Videos captured the rapper conversing with security personnel at the Golden 1 Center before leaving his courtside seat.
Here is what happened according to E-40:
Throughout the game, he was “subjected to disrespectful heckling.” In the fourth quarter, he “turned around and addressed one heckler in an assertive but polite manner.” Afterward, Kings security approached him, “assumed I instigated the encounter, and proceeded to kick me out of the arena.”
E-40 said that the incident was yet another reminder of racial bias in society. “Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault,” he said.
Sources close to the incident claim that Golden 1 Center security believed E-40 was blocking the view of fans behind him by standing excessively, and they warned him after receiving numerous complaints. Kings and Warriors security attempted to remove him quietly to avoid further disruption.
On the other hand, a source close to E-40 claimed that Golden 1 security never gave him a warning for standing excessively.
The Sacramento Kings announced on Sunday that they are investigating the incident. “The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made,” the team said in a statement.
E-40 is a prominent fan of the Golden State Warriors and has a courtside seat at the team’s home arena, the Chase Center, beside the Warriors’ bench. Earlier this year, he accompanied the team when it visited the White House to celebrate winning the NBA championship last season.
The Golden State Warriors trail the Sacramento Kings 1-0 in the first-round series, with Game 2 taking place on Monday night in Sacramento.