NBA star threatens to beat up fan after “racial” comments

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook threatened a Utah Jazz fan during the team’s 98-89 win in Salt Lake City Monday night. Westbrook, who has complained about Jazz fans in the past, said that after the game that he was triggered by comments he considered “racial” and “inappropriate” from the fan, now identified as Shane Keisel.

During the second quarter, a visibly angry Westbrook was caught on camera hurling expletives directed at Keisel, telling him that he was going to “f*** up” him and his wife. According to Westbrook, Keisel apparently told him to, “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” He believed it was “racial” and “inappropriate,” and he made a point about players’ safety.

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook gets into a heated verbal altercation with fans in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Rick Bowmer / AP

“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,” he said post-game. “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.”

On Twitter, his teammate Patrick Patterson, who was sitting next to him on the bench during the heated exchange, claimed the fan said “much more.” Another teammate, Raymond Felton, also backed Westbrook’s account.

Keisel told KSL Sports that he had a different account about how the verbal exchange went down.

“I thought we were having fun to be honest,” he said. “He had heat [on]. I thought it was ice. I just told him, ‘sit down and ice your knees bro.’ And he turned to me and was like, ‘That’s heat. That’s heat.’ I’m like, ‘Well you’re gonna need it’ and then it turned not safe for work.”

Keisel claimed he didn’t use any insults at Westbrook, but he took issue when Westbrook went after his female companion.

“He can threaten me all he wants but don’t threaten a woman,” he said. “Her first NBA game ever. Welcome to the NBA, Jen.”

Westbrook also addressed that part of his tirade: “As for beating up his wife, I’ve never put my hand on a woman. I never will. Once he said the comment, his wife repeated the same thing to me. That’s kinda how that started.”

The rocky relationship between Westbrook and Jazz fans didn’t just begin Monday. It was on display in the NBA playoffs last year. After Game 6 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series loss to the Jazz, Westbrook was seen swiping at a fan’s phone as he exited the court.

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