UPDATE: Jazz permanently ban fan involved in heated exchange with Westbrook

Incident occurred during Thunder-Jazz game

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY – UPDATE: The Utah Jazz have permanently banned the fan involved in a heated exchange with Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook. The Jazz released the following.

Westbook was also fined $25,000 by the NBA for his involvement in the incident.


Russell Westbrook confronted a man and his wife during a game after the Oklahoma City star says the two racially taunted him.

The heated exchange came early in the second quarter of the Thunder’s 98-89 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

Westbrook was on the bench and stood when he heard what the fans said.  He said they told him to “get down on my knees like I used to.”

After that, Westbrook was seen on video cursing at the man and threatening him and his wife. Video of the incident spread across social media.

After the game, Westbrook said he considered the comment to be inappropriate, racial in nature and disrespectful. He also spoke of verbal abuse he and teammates hear from spectators on the road.

Much of it has been directed at their families, according to Westbrook. He said he will no longer tolerate such disrespect. 

“There’s got to be something done,” Westbrook said. “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. I don’t think it’s fair to the players.” 

Westbrook recently objected to a young fan touching him on the sideline during a game.

The fan said in a TV interview neither he nor his wife cursed at Westbrook. He said it initially seemed as if the two were joking before it went to another level.

Westbrook’s teammates came to his defense following the game. Patrick Patterson confirmed Westbrook’s account of what happened.

Raymond Felton, who did not play, sat near Westbrook on the bench. Felton confirmed he also heard the taunts.

“He’s not coming off and talking to the fans, just saying stuff to them and just blurting out words,” Felton said. “He’s not. They’re coming at him first.”

Last season, Spurs guard Patty Mills was subject to racial taunts from a fan during a nationally televised game at Cleveland. Mills took the high road and spoke about the incident a day later.

"I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been called a lot worse,” Mills said last February. “But It was a small example to shine a little bit of light on the fact that racism still does exists in sports today and we as a whole can do a lot more to be in a situation like this today, and help educate the kids to be able to be proud of who they are and where they come from, and have the feeling inside to be able to express all of that.”

The Cavaliers identified the fan, and at the time, indefinitely banned the individual from all events at Quicken Loans Arena for at least a year.

About the Authors: