In Salt Lake City, Russell Westbrook got into a heated verbal altercation with a fan and his wife during the second quarter of Oklahoma City’s 98-89 victory over Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Sitting on the bench, Westbrook stood up was seen on video swearing at the man, who according to the Thunder guard, told him to “get down on my knees like I used to.”
Westbrook is heard saying: “I promise you. You think I’m playing. I swear to God, I swear to God, I’ll fuck you up. You and your wife, I’ll fuck you up.”
Afterwards he told reporters abuse from the crowd needs to be stamped out.
“I just think there’s got to be something done,” he said. “There’s got to be some consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to say and do whatever they want to say. I don’t think it’s fair to the players – not just to me, but I don’t think it’s fair to the players.
“And if I had to do it again, I would say the same exact thing, because I truly will stand up for myself, for my family, for my kids, for my wife, for my mom, for my dad every single time. I expect anybody else to do the same. So that’s kind of where I’m at with the whole situation. As for beating up his wife, I have never put my hand on a woman; I never will. Never been in any domestic violence before. Never have before, but once he said the comment, his wife repeated the same thing to me as well. So that’s kind of how that started. I know you guys only got the tail end of the video, but the start of the video is way more important and way more disrespectful than what you guys heard.”
The fan in question is 45-year-old Shane Keisel, who told ESPN he did not say anything inappropriate. Keisel said the exchange “started off as fun” with him yelling at Westbrook to “ice those knees up!” According to Keisel, after Westbrook replied that it was heat on his knees, Keisel hollered, “You’re going to need it.” Keisel said his wife, Jennifer Huff, didn’t participate in the exchange.
“He just went nuts,” Keisel told ESPN. “She never got up. She never stood up. She never said a word to him. I mean, it’s all fine, we’re having fun and games with the guy and we’re talking, but at the end of the day, no man should threaten a woman, period.
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“I’m not afraid of the guy. Come on up. But when you threaten a woman that’s 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, you’re a big man. So this guy needs to be exposed.”
Utah Jazz revealed it was investigating ‘the unfortunate exchange’
“Multiple warning cards were issued [to fans] by arena security,” a statement said. “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, again in Utah, Westbrook was involved in another argument with a fan as he left the court after a play-off game.
It mirrors ugly exchanges in football in the UK, with three individual examples happening over the last few days.
Paul Mitchell was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for assaulting Jack Grealish during a Birmingham v Aston Villa game, while Rangers’ James Tavernier and Man United’s Chris Smalling were also attacked by pitch invaders.