Russell Westbrook has a history with the Utah Jazz. During the 2018 NBA Playoffs when the Thunder was eliminated by the Jazz, Westbrook opened up and called Jazz fans “disrespectful” and “vulgar” toward him when he claimed a Jazz fan was heckling him about his family and his kids.
Fans heckling pro athletes is a natural part of the game and it comes with the territory. When it gets into family territory, then it goes from harmless fun to something else. Kind of like Twitter trolls, fighting back on fan heckling can go one of two ways. On one hand, the person may deserve to be exposed depending on what they said. On the other hand, acknowledging it can also let others know what gets under your skin and it gets worse.
Back in Utah tonight, Westbrook was shown yelling at an unidentified Jazz fan nearby saying “I promise you. You think I’m playing? I swear to God. I swear to God. I’ll fuck you up. You and your wife, I’ll fuck you up.”
(Update: The Jazz have since banned the fan in question, who’s announced his own plans to sue Westbrook. Our original post continues below.)
Things get heated between Russell Westbrook and Utah Jazz fans again. “I’ll f*ck you up. You and your wife,” he says. Not sure what these fans said to him, but he also had issues with Jazz fans during the postseason. pic.twitter.com/LquwRmLVNy
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 12, 2019
At the start of the clip, Westbrook was shown talking to what looked like an usher or someone on security before directing what he said toward the fan. Westbrook’s teammate Patrick Patterson tweeted that the fan allegedly told Westbrook “Get down on your knees like you’re used to” as he took issue with fans getting away with more than he feels they should in regards to fan to player interaction such as this.
Fans can say shit about a mans family, wife, & kids.. Tell a player “Get down on your knees like your use to.” As men, what do you expect us to do? Shut up & dribble? No one is held accountable for their actions except for us. Fans are protected in every way possible but not us.
— Patrick Patterson (@pdpatt) March 12, 2019
According to Deseret News beat writer Eric Woodyard, five fans received “warning cards” for violating the NBA Fan Code of Conduct but “were able to return to their seats after their altercation with Russell Westbrook.
UPDATE: The fan in question, Shane Keisel, was interviewed and claimed he didn’t say what was reported that he said and that it was a misunderstanding. His Twitter account, now set to private, shows a tweet (well a screenshot of that tweet) where Keisel called Westbrook “a piece of classless shit” and called for someone to kick Westbrook’s ass.