Following Westbrook-fan incident, NBA teams to create PSAs on 'respect and civility in NBA arenas'

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The NBA is trying its best to cool tensions around the court following Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s confrontation with a Utah Jazz fan on Monday.

According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league has sent a memo to every team to create a PSA stressing the “importance of respect and civility in NBA arenas.”

The teams already have pre-recorded videos to play before games that talk about using respectful language around other fans. The league also created a series of PSAs in 2011 that denounced anti-gay language.

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Of course, beyond a brief video, the league could also curb similar incidents by more stringently enforcing the rules with belligerent fans. People certainly have to pay a lot of money to sit near the court, but that does not give them the right to cross the line from heckling to using abusive language.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook got into a heated verbal altercation with a fan on Monday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook got into a heated verbal altercation with a fan on Monday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

How did this all start?

Westbrook has long had a beef with Jazz fans, especially going back to last year’s playoff series. The eight-time All-Star got in a pair of verbal altercations with Jazz fans in the series-clinching Game 6 loss last year when he swiped at a fan who was filming him leaving the court and yelled at another fan who confronted him at the tunnel.

This time around, a fan confronted Westbrook while he was on the bench, using dogwhistle language, saying “to get down on (your) knees like you used to.” Westbrook stood up and laid into the fan with an expletive-laden rant.

Westbrook was ultimately fined $25,000 by the league the following day “for directing profanity and threatening language toward a fan.” Additionally, the fan was banned for life by the Jazz, although he said he is planning to file a lawsuit against Westbrook.

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