(Reuters) – Golden State Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who shoved the Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors during a Finals game on Wednesday, has been fined $500,000 and banned from games for a year, the Warriors and the NBA said on Thursday.
Lowry tumbled into the front row of the crowd in Oakland while diving for a loose ball during the fourth quarter and Stevens, who was sitting courtside, used one hand to push the player as he was getting back on his feet.
Guard Lowry later said that Stevens also “said a couple vulgar words” to him. Stevens, 60, was escorted out of the game and Lowry called for him to be banned from all future NBA games.
“Investor Mark Stevens has been banned from attending NBA games and Warriors team activities for one year and has been fined $500,000 for pushing and directing obscene language toward the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry,” the NBA and the team said in a statement.
Stevens late Thursday issued a formal apology saying he was embarrassed by his “lapse in judgment” and said he accepted the punishment.
“What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it,” he said.
“Mr. Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations. I’m grateful to those who accepted my calls.
“The behavior I demonstrated last night does not reflect the person I am or have been throughout my life. I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right.”
The Warriors earlier in the day issued their own apology to Lowry.
“Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the Warriors said in a statement.
“We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct.
“There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.”
Stevens, who joined the Warriors’ ownership team in 2013, is a billionaire venture capitalist who was a partner with Sequoia Capital until 2012 and is now a managing partner of S-Cubed Capital.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr echoed the team’s statement.
“I will also personally apologize to Kyle and to the Raptors. That’s unacceptable,” he told reporters.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James took to Instagram to call for the league to take swift action against Stevens prior to the announcement of the fine and the ban.
“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” James said.
“He himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for,” he said.
James ended his lengthy post with the hashtags #ProtectThePlayers and #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere.
Game Four will be held in Oakland on Friday, with the Raptors leading the best-of-seven series 2-1.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Ed Osmond/Nick Mulvenney)