Thunder’s Westbrook revives beef with Utah Jazz fans
By Agence France-Presse
Russell Westbrook threatened a female fan and her male companion when the Oklahoma City Thunder player got into another heated exchange with Utah spectators during a NBA game on Monday.
The confrontation between Westbrook and the Jazz fans was caught on video and posted to social media.
“I swear to God. I will fuck you up, you and your wife. I will fuck you up,” Westbrook said.
It was unclear from the video what the Jazz hecklers said to initiate the profanity-laced response from Westbrook but the player said he heard a racial slur.
Westbrook was not penalized by the game officials in the Thunder’s 98-89 victory in front of a crowd of 18,300 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Westbrook finished with a near triple double, 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Westbrook issued a statement after the game to reporters but declined to answer questions.
“The young man and his wife in the stands told me to get down on my knees like you used to,” Westbrook said. “And for me that is completely disrespectful. I think it is racial. It is inappropriate.
“There are people that come to the games to say mean disrespectful things about me and my family. For many years I have done all the right things and never done anything to hurt or harm anybody. Never been in any trouble. Never fought a fan.”
The incident was similar to another outburst from Westbrook in the final of last year’s first round playoff series in Utah.
“Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans,” Westbrook said at the time. “It’s truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids.”
A Jazz spokesman said late Monday night that “players and fans have a shared responsibility to create a safe and respectful environment.”
“We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight’s game between Russell Westbrook and fans,” the Jazz spokesman said in a statement released by the team.
“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.”
The NBA’s worst incident between players and fans took place during a 2004 brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Piston spectators which resulted in nine players being suspended.
The brawl started with 46 seconds left in a game in Detroit and began with Pistons centre Ben Wallace and Pacers forward Ron Artest getting tangled up. A fight broke out between the players.
After the fight was broken up, Artest charged into the stands to confront a fan that had thrown a drink at him.
That sparked a massive brawl between players and a number of fans that lasted several minutes. Artest ended up with an 86-game suspension and Wallace got six games.