The dark side of sports fandom reared its ugly head again yesterday evening when Oklahoma City point guard ​Russell Westbrook was involved in a verbal altercation with a ​fan who was directing derogatory racial remarks at him.

​Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell made a powerful statement on racism following Westbrook's encounter at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

​​"Racism and hate speech hurts us all," said Mitchell. "And this is not the first time something like this has happened in our arena. The Utah that I have come to love is welcoming and inclusive and last night's incident is not indicative of our fanbase.

"I join other players in calling for all teams to take a stand. We should not be subject to hate speech or racists at any time, and definitely not in our arenas."

He also made a commitment to working with both his teammates and the league in order to foster inclusiveness across the league.

It's encouraging to see Mitchell taking the lead on a topic that often goes unaddressed. 

Racism is not something to be tolerated under any circumstances, and creating a positive initiative out of a disgraceful encounter is a perfect way to put an end to it.