An animal rights activist sporting a NBA referee jersey stormed onto the court during the playoff between Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves as the game had to be halted due to the expected disruption. St. Louis' Sasha Zemmel jumped over the courtside seats on Saturday till she was tackled by security personnel and taken out of the court.
The incident occurred when Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, 81, and his wife, Becky, were watching the game in the third quarter with 10:44 left before she was tackled by security and dragged away. This is the third time in the last 10 days that the series has seen such protests.
The match between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves was unexpectedly interrupted after Zemmel entered the court from nowhere. Video posted online shows her rushing onto the court in a referee jersey before a whistle is heard and security personnel tackle her and remove her from the court.
The alternate NBA referee jersey with the number 5.3 on the back made clear her agenda. The number 5.3 written on the jersey was to highlight "the 5.3 million chickens killed" due to the illness, according to the group Direct Action Everywhere.
Understandably, everything was well planned. She even tried to stop the game using a whistle. However, security tackled her the moment she reached the center of the court. When security tackled her on the court, she was also wearing a velvet jacket over her grey jersey.
However, her mystery companion stayed behind the Taylors and adjacent to the second row of Timberwolves assistant coaches, who assisted security in capturing her.
Making Her Point
Zemmel is not expected to face any charges as a result of her fowl show, according to police. However, she was able to make her point clear although many didn't support the way she did it. The video of the incident has since gone viral.
Zemmel is an activist for Direct Action Everywhere, according to a statement sent to DailyMail.com from the animal rights' group.
The non-profit has been protesting how Taylor's Rembrandt Enterprises, which owns a chicken farm, reportedly handled an avian flu epidemic. Approximately 28 million chickens have died as a result of the extremely contagious illness. Taylor's net worth is estimated to be $2.5 billion.
According to a statement released by Direct Action Everywhere after the game, Zemmel "attempted to whistle to stop play as she approached Taylor at his courtside seat, to issue a "technical foul and ejection," as well as a "fine" against Forbes' richest man in Minnesota."
Since the start of the Timberwolves' first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, which is now knotted at 2-2, the group has planned three animal rights protests during Timberwolves games.
The first to be arrested during such a protest was Zoe Rosenberg. The 19-year-old was arrested on April 16 at the Grizzlies' FedEx stadium after attempting a similar stunt in protest of Taylor's treatment of his farm poultry.
The incident began when Rosenberg approached the court and strewn flyers throughout the court, thereby stopping the game. The protester then wore a yellow chain around her neck and body, which she connected to the goal post. She was removed from the court and arrested right away.