The relationship between Russell Westbrook and Jazz fans took another ugly turn on Monday night.
Westbrook, who clashed with Jazz supporters during the Thunder’s first-round playoff series last year, verbally confronted a fan and his wife during the course of OKC’s 98-89 victory in Salt Lake City. After the game, Westbrook and several of his teammates claimed the fan told Westbrook “to get down on [his] knees like you used to.”
“To me, that’s just completely disrespectful,” Westbrook said. “To me, I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate in the sense that there’s no protection for the players. I think there are a lot of great fans that like to come to the game and enjoy the game. And then there are people that come to the game to say disrespectful things about me, my family.”
The fan in question, Shane Keisel, told a much different version of what took place when interviewed by KSL 5 TV.
“I just told him, ‘Sit down and ice your knees, bro,'” Keisel said. “He turned to me and he’s like, ‘It’s heat.’ I’m like, ‘Well you’re going to need it!’ Then it turned into… not safe for work.”
The Jazz later issued a statement regarding the incident:
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. Player 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.