Sport Basketball ‘No protection for the players’: NBA star Russell Westbrook says fan provoked profane threat

‘No protection for the players’: NBA star Russell Westbrook says fan provoked profane threat

Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook reacts to the crowd in Salt Lake City. Photo: Getty
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Oklahoma City basketball star Russell Westbrook said he was verbally provoked before directing a profanity-laced tirade at a fan during Thunder’s 98-89 NBA win over Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday.

A reporter from the Deseret News tweeted a video of Westbrook’s comments to the fan.

“I promise you,” Westbrook said to the fan. “You think I’m playing. I swear to God. I swear to God. I’ll (expletive) you up; you and your wife. I’ll (expletive) you up.”

When another person appears to intervene, Westbrook says, “No, (expletive) that! (Expletive) that!”

Then apparently addressing the fan again, he said, “I promise you, everything I love. Everything I love (n-word), I promise you.”

After the game, Westbrook gave his explanation.

“How it started was, a young man and his wife in the stands told me ‘to get down on my knees like you used to.’ To me, that’s just completely disrespectful, to me, I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate and insensitive. …

“If I had it to do over again, I would say the exact same thing. I truly will stand up for myself and my family. …

“As for beating up his wife, I’ve never put my hand on a woman. I never will. Never been in any domestic violence before.

“But once he said the comment, and his wife repeated the same thing as well. That’s kind of how that started.”

Salt Lake City NBC 5 identified the male fan involved in the exchange as Shane Keisel, a Jazz fan, and spoke with him.

Keisel said he was playfully bantering with Westbrook before Westbrook started cursing at him.

“I never said a single swear word to him, not one,” Keisel told the TV station. “Initially, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m talking with Westbrook, the guy is one of the greats. He’s also classless. …

“He can threaten me all he wants. I was the one talking to him, but don’t threaten a woman. She’s 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, man. (She) never said a word to him.”

Five fans at the game were issued “warning cards” citing the NBA’s code of conduct after the incident, the Deseret News reported.

Last year, Westbrook knocked a phone out of a fan’s hand in Salt Lake City after a Thunder playoff loss.


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