Details have surfaced about the Utah Jazz fan who was involved in an altercation with Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook on Monday.
Westbrook was captured on video telling Jazz fan Shane Keisel and his wife, “I’ll f**k you up.”
He claimed his reaction was sparked by racially offensive comments made by Keisel. According to the NBA star, Keisel said, “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.”
Keisel denied making a racially offensive comment and claimed to have merely said, “Ice those knees up! You’re going to need it.”
Although Keisel told ESPN the interaction with Westbrook “started out as fun,” evidence surfaced that revealed a possible bias against the NBA star. “Westbrook is a piece of classless sh*t. Somebody needs to kick his a*s. #tool #poorloser,” Keisel wrote on Twitter in April 2018. Later in the year, he tweeted, “Russell Westbrook needs to go back where he came from!! #MAGA.”
Those tweets have since been deleted from Keisel’s account.
Fellow Thunder players came out in support of Westbrook. “As men, what do you expect us to do? Shut up and dribble? No one is held accountable for their actions except us. Fans are protected in every way possible but not us,” power forward Patrick Patterson wrote on Twitter.
Reserve guard Raymond Felton told ESPN, ” That’s just not right for Russ to have to deal with that when they said something to him first and they said something totally disrespectful. I heard it. I’m standing right there. I heard it. That’s not right. That’s all I’m saying. That’s not right.”
This isn’t the first time Westbrook has been involved in a dispute with a Jazz fan.
In 2018, he exchanged words with a fan following a loss that eliminated the Thunder from the NBA playoffs.
Westbrook defended his actions in a statement to ESPN saying, “I didn’t confront fans; fans confronted me. Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It’s truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids. It’s truly disrespectful to the game, man.” he said.
Jazz fans have a documented history of brutally taunting and heckling NBA stars.
In 2007, Derek Fisher revealed that his daughter had been diagnosed with a rare eye cancer. During a 2008 game in Salt Lake City, one Jazz fan covered his eye and screamed obscenities while the Los Angeles Lakers point guard attempted a free throw. Jazz fans reportedly yelled “cancer” every time Fisher touched the ball throughout the game.
The Jazz organization issued a postgame statement regarding Westbrook and Keisel’s interaction, writes ESPN. “We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight’s game between Russell Westbrook and fans. Multiple warning cards were issued by arena security.
The statement addressed a “shared responsibility” between NBA stars and fans of the sport. “Players and fans have a shared responsibility to create a safe and respectful environment. If it is determined that any fans violated the NBA Code of Conduct, appropriate action will be taken.”