Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook sheds light on the altercation he had with Utah Jazz fans and has no regrets about how he handled the situation. Jazz fan Shane Keisel’s assessment of the altercation is much different that Westbrook’s and is upset Russ threatened his wife.
The comment, and threatening a woman, is not a good look for the image-conscious NBA — especially since it came from a former Most Valuable Player and one of the game’s biggest stars. But Westbrook, who has had multiple angry in-game exchanges with fans, insisted that Monday night’s video during a 98-89 Oklahoma City win over the Jazztold only one side of the story. He said he was responding to a racial taunt, and not for the first time in Salt Lake City.
Westbrook has had run-ins with fans before — and reacted calmly last month when it appeared he was touched by a child sitting courtside. Others have not been as pleasant, and Denver’s Will Barton said he believes fans know they can get a reaction from Westbrook.
There is a fan code of conduct at all NBA games, including a part that says guests “will enjoy the basketball experience free from disruptive behavior, including foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.” Violators are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and each team handles things its own way. At the Utah game Monday night, some fans were issued warning cards but allowed to return to their seats.
Westbrook and the Thunder have finished their season series with the Jazz. Unless the teams meet in the playoffs, the earliest he would play again in Salt Lake City is next October.