Russell Westbrook Stands By Decision To Confront Hecklers Who Told Him To 'Get Down On Your Knees Like You're Used To'
The 11-year NBA veteran will not tolerate disrespect.
After an intense confrontation with a vulgar Utah Jazz fan, Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook defends his decision to stand up for himself in a post-game interview.
Westbrook isn't one to lay down to anyone. The 11-year NBA veteran player got into a heated exchange with an overzealous Utah Jazz fan who reportedly told Westbrook to "get down on his knees like he used to."
According to Bleacher Report, the incident occurred during Monday's game between the Thunder and Jazz. Video footage captured the 30-year-old yelling at some fans off-camera while he was on the bench.
“I’ll f**k you up. You and your wife,” he told two fans in the stands.
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 said the altercation climaxed when the pair of fans hurled what could have been a racist statement.
"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 told reporters. "To me, that's just completely disrespectful, to me, I think it's racial, and I think it's inappropriate."
At the center of the incident was Jazz fan Shane Keisel. In an interview following the game, Keisel claimed the heckling was harmless fun. He and others were reportedly mocking Westbrook for icing/heating his knees.
Lies people tell https://t.co/mgPOIWeOZf— DWade (@DwyaneWade) March 12, 2019
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But the NBA didn't find the gestures to be innocuous. According to Desert News journalist Eric Woodyard, five fans received "warning cards" for their misconduct last night.
Five Utah Jazz fans received "warning cards" that their comments, gestures and/or behaviors directed at players were in violation of the NBA Fan Code of Conduct, but were able to return to their seats after their altercation with Russell Westbrook.— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 12, 2019
Westbrook went to bat for himself. CBS Sports reports the star player has had a clean slate on and off the court, but he does not tolerate disrespect from fans. During his post-game interview with the press, Westbrook leaned on his reputation. He told reporters that players are not protected from the obscene language and harassment thrown at them.
Russell Westbrook says the comment from the Jazz fan that set him off was: “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” pic.twitter.com/i0vIlblSwJ— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 12, 2019
"I don't confront fans, fans confront me," he told reporters. "Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It's truly disrespectful. [They] talk about your families, your kids. It's just a disrespect to the game and I think it's something that needs to be brought up."
Utah Jazz officials released a statement seemingly defending Westbrook. In the release, they confirmed warning cards were issued to unruly fans.
"We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight's game between Russell Westbrook and fans. 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."
This isn't the first time Westbrook has had to check an audience member. Last month, the player had to chastiseva young fan who couldn't keep his hands to himself during a Denver Nuggets game.Now, check these out:
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