SALT LAKE CITY – Following a confrontation between an Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and a Utah Jazz fan, the Jazz announced that they are taking actions against the fan.
As the Thunder was taking on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Russell Westbrook got into an altercation with a Jazz fan in the second quarter.
Shane Keisel, the Jazz fan, told ESPN that he did not say anything inappropriate to Westbrook, but told him to “ice those knees up!” At that point, he claims that Westbrook snapped and began cursing and threatening him.
“I’m going to tell you one thing: I’ll f*** him up if he says that s***again. I promise you,” Westbrook said to a security guard behind the bench at the beginning of the video posted to Twitter. Westbrook then looks toward Keisel. “I promise you. You think I’m playing. I swear to God, I swear to God, I’ll f*** you up. You and your wife, I’ll f*** you up.”
However, Westbrook says Keisel’s comments were not just fun and games.
He says he heard Keisel tell him to “get down on your knees like you’re used to.”
His version of events has been corroborated by other Thunder players who also heard the exchange, according to ESPN.
After video of the confrontation spread on social media, many users were shocked by some of the content on Keisel’s social media accounts, which have since been deleted.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Utah Jazz announced that Keisel has been banned permanently from future Jazz games.
“The Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Group announced today a permanent ban of the fan who engaged in the inappropriate interaction with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook last night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The ban is effective immediately and includes all arena events.
The organization conducted an investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts. The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct.
The Utah Jazz will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There is no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect.
‘Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment,’ said Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz. ‘Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community. We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward.'”
Even though many in the league support Westbrook, the NBA announced that he has been fined $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language towards a fan.”