OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s the altercation that sent Twitter into a frenzy.
Russell Westbrook interacting with a Utah Jazz fan after he claims the fan made offensive and racial comments toward him.
“I swear to God, I’ll f*** you up, you and your wife. I’ll f*** you up,” Westbrook can be heard saying in the video posted to Twitter.
Now, many are asking if he crossed the line or is it time for fans to learn some boundaries?
News 4 caught up to former NBA and college athletes who have been in similar situations.
Westbrook’s comments came after he says a fan told him to “Get down on [his] knees like you’re used to.”
“For me, that’s just completely disrespectful, to me. I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate and insensitive,” Westbrook said after the game.
The fan says neither he nor the woman he was with said anything like that to Westbrook. Instead, he claims he told Russ to sit down and ice his knees.
“And it turned into – not safe for work,” said the Utah fan, identified as Shane Keisel.
But the NBA star says this points to a larger problem in the league.
“There’s got to be some consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to say and do whatever they want to say,” Westbrook said.
Former Thunder player Desmond Mason shared his thoughts on 107.7 The Franchise with Todd Lisenbee and News 4 Sports’ Dylan Buckingham.
“I think I said something back to one fan in 10 years,” Mason said. “So him saying ‘I haven’t had very many run-ins with fans,’ you should have zero honestly, and just do your job.”
It’s true – Westbrook is no stranger to interactions with fans, and many times he’s kept his cool. But these athletes want you to know this is something that’s a problem in other sports too.
“Like OU/Texas for example, you would be amazed what some of the fans are saying to players and coaches and staff and things like that,” said Sam Mayes, who was an All-American offensive lineman at OSU.
Mayes says he experienced the heckling both as a player and now covering games for The Franchise. He’s even seen it here at the ‘Peake.
“I sat on the baseline the other night when they played Utah and some things were coming out of the crowd that I was like ‘Holy crap, it’s crazy,'” he said.
Both Mason and Mayes agree that fans and players need to keep their cool.
“Clearly, he’s prepared for what fans say but clearly something was said to him that triggered a response that was unacceptable in 2019, bottom line,” Mayes said.
“Just because you paid for a ticket doesn’t mean you get to do or say anything you want to say,” said Mason.
Despite violating the NBA code of conduct, five Utah fans were issued warning cards and were able to return to their seats.
The Utah Jazz released a statement, saying in part that they are investigating and that both fans and players have a shared responsibility in creating a safe and respectful environment.