NBA referee Joe Forte isn't a "Parrothead."
Forte ejected singer Jimmy Buffett from his seat along the baseline at Sunday's New York Knicks-Miami Heat game.
Forte said he tossed Buffett for using profanity.
"He was there with his son," said Heat coach Pat Riley, who had a front-row seat for the commotion. "I don't think it was that bad. I mean, come on, a few words."
The altercation delayed the game several minutes in the fourth quarter. Heat officials said Buffett, whose fans are called "Parrotheads," was escorted to another seat in the arena for the remainder of the game.
"He was using profanity," Forte said. "There was a little boy sitting next to him and a lady sitting by him. He used some words he knows he shouldn't have used, so I asked security to move him to another location.
Attempts to reach Buffett through his management company and corporate headquarters were not successful.
Forte said he did not know the man was the legendary singer until someone mentioned it to him after the incident.
"I told Joe Forte, I said, 'Do you know who that is?'" Riley said. "I said, 'Do you mean to tell me you've never been a Parrothead in your life?' So that tells you where our officials are coming from."
"He thought I was insulting him. He wanted to give me a technical for calling him a Parrothead," Riley added.