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.”
Russell Westbrook got into a heated verbal discussion with Utah fans during the Thunder's 98-89 victory over the Jazz. https://t.co/NGAPsSTUXI
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 12, 2019
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.”
Russell Westbrook argues with Utah Jazz fan Shane Keisel. here are some of his tweets about Westbrook. this man purposely bought tickets close to the OKC Thunder bench where both he & his wife yelled racially charged words towards Russ. Utah needs to hold this man accountable.. pic.twitter.com/ztoilJ0Kvg
— Eric Britt (@_Ericbritt) March 12, 2019
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.
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
“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.