Hip-Hop legend E-40 said “racial bias” is the reason why he was thrown out from Saturday’s NBA first-round playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings.
In a statement, E-40, whose real name is Earl Stevens, said that he was “subjected to disrespectful heckling” throughout the contest, adding that he addressed one of his hecklers in the fourth quarter of the contest “in an assertive but polite manner.”
“Yet, shortly thereafter, Kings security approached me, assumed I instigated the encounter and proceeded to kick me out of the arena,” the “Rapper’s Ball” singer said in his statement.
“Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that — despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur — racial bias remains prevalent. Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault.”
Videos circulated online showing Kings’ security personnel speaking with E-40 at the Golden 1 Center during the contest before the Bay Area rapper was asked to leave his courtside seats.
Sources told sports media outlet ESPN that arena security personnel believe that Stevens was blocking the view of fans behind him at the game, noting that he also refused to comply with a warning after many complaints.
The sources also said that Kings and Warriors security personnel made an effort to escort the rapper out of the arena without any distractions, according to ESPN. In a rebuttal, a source close to E-40 said that security personnel never gave a warning to the rapper for standing excessively during the game.
Stevens, a die-hard Warriors fan, had courtside seats close to the Warriors’ bench during Saturday’s contest, where his beloved Warriors lost to the Kings 126-123, trailing 1-0 in the best-of-seven playoff series.
In a statement to ESPN, the Kings, who clinched their first postseason appearance since 2016, said that the team is looking into the incident involving E-40, saying that they take “these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made.”
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