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Rapper E-40 says 'racial bias' is to blame for ejection from Warriors-Kings playoff

E-40, middle, watches during an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers in San Francisco, Dec. 30, 2022. The Sacramento Kings are investigating allegations from the rapper E-40 that "racial bias" led to him being kicked out of his seat during a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.
Jeff Chiu
/
AP
E-40, middle, watches during an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers in San Francisco, Dec. 30, 2022. The Sacramento Kings are investigating allegations from the rapper E-40 that "racial bias" led to him being kicked out of his seat during a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.

The Sacramento Kings say they are investigating an incident in which the rapper E-40 was ejected from their arena during Saturday's playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, an incident he says was the result of "racial bias."

The rapper, born Earl Stevens, Jr., said in a statement to NPR that he was subjected to "disrespectful heckling" during Saturday's playoff game and addressed one heckler in an "assertive but polite" manner before being ordered to leave the Golden 1 Center arena by security guards.

"Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that — despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur — racial bias remains prevalent," the rapper said in a statement.

"Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault," he added.

The exact cause for the rapper's removal from the arena is still unclear, and the Kings say they are investigating why he was ejected.

"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.

The 55-year-old rapper said that while he's attended countless NBA games throughout his lifetime and has always prided himself on professionalism, Saturday's experience was "jarring."

"I was absolutely humiliated by the Kings' security team and I'm calling on the franchise to investigate the appalling conduct that transpired," the rapper said.

Stevens, a Bay Area native, is a prominent Golden State Warriors fan and was part of the team's delegation that visited the White House earlier this year.

"It's unfortunate. I love 40. He's been our biggest supporter for years," Warriors guard Klay Thompson told reporters Sunday.

"I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench. In my time knowing him, he's always been respectful. He's always been considerate of those around him. Very weird to see, and I hope it's resolved," he added.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.