SALT LAKE CITY (KFOR) – A Utah Jazz fan who received a lifetime ban from the arena after being involved in a confrontation with then-Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is now suing the NBA star.
In March, Russell Westbrook got into an altercation with a Jazz fan in the second quarter as the Thunder was taking on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
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 were then deleted.
The Utah Jazz announced that Keisel was banned permanently from all future Jazz games, saying, “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.”
After the incident, the Jazz then created the ‘Lead Together’ campaign with other major sporting organizations to speak out against hate.
Although many believed the incident was put to rest with the ban, it seems like there is a new chapter just beginning.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Keisel has filed a lawsuit against the Utah Jazz and Russell Westbrook.
The lawsuit claims that Keisel was engaging ‘in typical crowd behavior’ when Westbrook became ‘irate’ and went on a ‘tirade.’ The suit claims that Westbrook either misheard or mischaracterized his comments.
Keisel says he wants a public apology and $68 million in damages on claims of defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
Officials with the Utah Jazz say there is no legal or factual basis for the lawsuit, adding that they will defend themselves against the lawsuit.