NBA looking into Westbrook dispute with Jazz fan

NBA looking into Westbrook dispute with Jazz fan
By Reuters

12/03/2019 at 12:00Updated 12/03/2019 at 12:02

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

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."

Keisel appears to have set his social media accounts to private, and deleted a
series of insensitive posts on social media, including instructing Westbrook
in Oct. 2018 to "go back where he came from #MAGA."

He included the warning card given by the NBA in his social media profile
hours after the game ended.

In April 2018, Keisel's Twitter feed included a post on Westbrook describing
the Thunder guard as a "piece of classless ----."

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

The NBA later issued a statement: "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. 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."

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

--Field Level Media

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