Russell Westbrook's contentious relationship with Utah Jazz fans hit a new level Monday when he threatened two people during a break in play in Monday’s game.
Video captured a heated Westbrook and was posted on Twitter.
The language in the video is not safe for work.
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
Westbrook: ‘I’ll f—- you up’
“I’m gonna tell you one thing. I’ll f—- him up,” Westbrook tells somebody standing off camera.
Westbrook then turns his attention to the person at the receiving end of his ire.
“I promise you,” Westbrook continues. “You think I’m playing? I swear to God. I swear to God. I’ll f—- you up. You and your wife. I’ll f—- you up.
“I promise you. Everything I love. Everything I love.”
Westbrook: ‘Completely disrespectful ... racial’
Westbrook addressed the interaction after the game in a statement to the media.
“The realization of it is — 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,’” Westbrook said. “To me that’s just completely disrespectful. To me, I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate in the sense that there’s no protection for the players.
“If I had to do it over again, I would say the exact same thing. I truly will stand up for myself and my family and my wife and my mom and my dad every single time. ... As for beating up his wife, I’ve never put my hand on a woman, I never will.”
Westbrook’s full statement can be read below:
Full statement from Russell Westbrook on the interaction with a fan at the game tonight: pic.twitter.com/UzEfmVmEHC
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 12, 2019
Westbrook’s teammate Patrick Patterson also discussed the incident after the game on Twitter.
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
Fan gives his side of story
Salt Lake City’s KSL caught up with the fan who said he was on the receiving end of Westbrook’s tirade after the game. Shane Keisel called Westbrook “classless” and said he never swore at Westbrook during their interaction.
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
“He’s gotta be a professional. She was sitting down the entire time,” Keisel said of his wife. “It was actually kind of having fun, to be honest. He was smiling at one point.
“Russ is just F-bombing, and carrying on acting a fool down here and everybody’s getting on him ... I just told him sit down and ice your knees, bro. ... Then it turned into not safe for work. I never said a swear word to him.”
Keisel went on to say that his wife was never involved in the interaction.
“She never left her seat,” Keisel said. “Never said a word. Hands in her lap. Never said a single swear word to him. ... 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. I mean never said a word to him. Her first NBA game, ever. Welcome to the NBA, Jen.”
Fan has tweeted about Westbrook
Monday was not the first time Keisel has called Westbrook “classless.” He did so as well on Twitter during last year’s heated playoff series between the Jazz and Thunder.
He’s also tweeted in October that “Russell Westbrook needs to go back where he came from!! #MAGA”
Keisel’s Twitter account was protected after Monday’s game.
Jazz issued warning to fans
The Jazz released a statement after the game that fans were warned by security and that the incident is under investigation.
“We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight’s game between Russell Westbrook and fans,” the statement reads. “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.”
Westbrook’s bad blood with Utah fans
Westbrook has a public history with Jazz fans dating back to last year’s playoffs when Utah won a hotly contested first-round series over Oklahoma City.
He had two altercations with fans in the deciding Game 6 of that series, one that saw him swipe at and exchange words with a fan holding a camera as he walked off the court after losing.
Westbrook also yelled at a fan who confronted him at the tunnel at halftime of the same game.
After that playoff loss, a frustrated Westbrook told reporters that fans in Utah are disrespectful and bring up players’ families when talking to them.
“I don’t confront fans,” Westbrook said last April. “Fans confront me. Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here. And with these fans, man, it’s truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids, and it’s just disrespect to the game. I think it’s something that needs to be brought up. I’m tired of just going out and playing and letting fans say what the hell they want to say. I’m not with that. Because if I was on the street, they wouldn’t just come up to me and say anything crazy, because I don’t play that shit. So I just think it’s disrespectful, and they get the chance to do whatever they want to do. It needs to be put to a stop, especially here in Utah.”
Another playoff matchup could raise tensions
Things in Utah appear to be only getting worse between Westbrook and Jazz fans. His comments and the reports of what Keisel said to him will surely catch the attention of the NBA, which has a growing problem with negative fan interactions between fans and players.
Fans have access to NBA players like in no other sport, with seats extending down to the same floor that players play on and no barrier in between.
Barring a playoff matchup, Oklahoma City’s 98-89 win Monday will be the last time these two teams face each other this season. The Thunder are currently slated for the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, while the Jazz would be the No. 6 seed if the postseason started today.
But a small swing in the standings either way could point to a rematch of last season’s first-round series.
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