By now all of you have seen the incident that took place during the OKC Thunder game in Utah against the Jazz, where Thunder Guard Russell Westbrook was provoked by a fan.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 12, 2019
Westbrook explained after the game what exactly was said, and did not back down from his initial reaction to the fan.
Russell Westbrook says the comment from the Jazz fan that set him off was: “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” pic.twitter.com/i0vIlblSwJ
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 12, 2019
This isn’t the first time Westbrook has had issues with a fan in Utah. Here he is last season during the playoffs, expressing his thoughts about the disrespectful atmosphere players deal with in Utah.
Tonight wasn't the first time Russell Westbrook has had a heated exchange with fans in Utah.
Here’s what happened in the playoffs last year: pic.twitter.com/GLXMxppj1x
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2019
Westbrook is exactly right when he says something needs to be done. Fans are not held accountable. Fans are well inbounds to criticize players game, and skills. But the second fans take shots at players that are unrelated to basketball, players have the right to defend themselves. The fans who spew derogatory verbal abuse towards players, whether it be racial or about the players families, etc, should be banned from NBA games and removed by security immediately. Because if the players do react verbally, the NBA fines them $25K. If Westbrook would’ve actually went into the stands and knocked the guy out, Westbrook is getting sued by the fan, suspended by the league indefinitely, and facing legal charges. It is always a lose-lose situation for the player.
Shane Keisel, the Jazz fan who was involved in the verbal altercation with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook gave his side of the story after the game, and nobody was buying the bullshit he said.
Shane Keisel, the Jazz fan who was involved in a verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook during the Jazz loss to the Thunder, explains his side of what happened. @KSL5TV @kslsports #nba pic.twitter.com/ScCSRttTCg
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) March 12, 2019
If anything, Keisel made a huge mistake doing the tv interview. Twitter did their thing and pulled up all his past tweets, many of them racial, and one even directed at Westbrook himself.
The Utah Jazz organization took action and permanently banned Keisel from attending any event in the arena going forward.
The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct. The Utah Jazz will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There is no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect.”
Via a press release by the Utah Jazz organization
Utah Jazz star player Guard Donovan Mitchel expressed his displeasure for what happened at last nights game, and wants to be apart of the solution in bettering the Utah community.