OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City Thunder superstar is speaking out after becoming the target of taunts from opposing fans.
As the Thunder was taking on the Denver Nuggets last month, a young Nuggets fan stood up and slightly pushed Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook then dropped the ball and leaned in for a little chat. He then gave the boy a handshake before returning to the court.
After the game, Westbrook told reporters that he told the boy’s father, “Be careful. You can’t have your son just hitting random people.”
Less than a month later, the Thunder star has become the target of another taunt.
As the Thunder was taking on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, 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.”
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His version of events has been corroborated by other Thunder players who also heard the exchange, according to ESPN.
“They’re always picking on Russ, and it’s just not right, man,” Raymond Felton said. “It’s not fair to tell a man to get on his knees: ‘That’s what you’re used to doing.’ Then turn around and his wife reiterates it and says it right back to him again. It’s not right. Then everybody wants to make a big deal out of what [Westbrook] said, but let’s talk about what they said to him first. He’s not coming off and talking to the fans, just saying stuff to them, just blurting out words. He’s not. They’re coming at him first. When is there going to be a point where there’s going to be protecting us players? People can say whatever they want to say to us during games and yell out stuff and talk about our families, talk about our kids. And that’s just not fair. That’s not right. So when is there going to be a point where it’s going to be about protecting us players?”
“For me, I’m just not going to continue to take disrespect for my family,” said Westbrook, adding that Utah has been a trouble spot for disrespectful fans.
“We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight’s game between Russell Westbrook and fans,” a statement released by the Jazz read. “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.”