Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Two days after issuing a permanent ban to fan Shane Keisel for his interaction with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, the Utah Jazz banned another fan for a previous incident involving Westbrook.
According to Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News on Friday, the latest fan was banned for “degrading and offensive conduct” against Westbrook during a playoff game last season.
Woodyard tweeted video of a fan calling Westbrook “boy” prior to Game 4 of last season’s playoff series between the Jazz and Thunder at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on April 23:
Eric Woodyard @E_Woodyard
To Russell Westbrook’s defense, here is even further proof of his previous interactions with Utah Jazz fans. In this video, @russwest44 is called a “boy” by a Jazz fan ahead of Game 4 of OKC’s first-round playoff series against Utah on April 23, 2018 at Vivint Arena. https://t.co/lc6slA7fTo
Per Woodyard, the Jazz conducted an investigation and tracked down the fan in the video. A source told Woodyard, “The Jazz aren’t taking these matters lightly.”
Part of the verbal altercation between Westbrook and Keisel during Monday’s game was caught on camera, and it featured Westbrook threatening the fan and his wife (Warning: Some language NSFW):
Eric Woodyard @E_Woodyard
Things get heated between Russell Westbrook and Utah Jazz fans again. “I’ll f*ck you up. You and your wife,” he says. Not sure what these fans said to him, but he also had issues with Jazz fans during the postseason. https://t.co/LquwRmLVNy
After the game, Westbrook told reporters that he felt Keisel made racist comments toward him:
Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Russell Westbrook says the comment from the Jazz fan that set him off was: “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” https://t.co/i0vIlblSwJ
Westbrook was also punished for his role in the incident with a $25,000 fine from the NBA.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our quote ‘fans’ conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players and you, as the best fans in the NBA.
“This should never happen. We are not a racist community. We believe in treating people with courtesy and respect as human beings. From time to time, individual fans exhibit poor behavior and forget their manners and disrespect players on other teams. When that happens, I want you to jump up and shout ‘stop.’ We have a code of conduct in this arena. It will be strictly enforced.”
The Jazz and Thunder are not scheduled to face each other again during the regular season, but Westbrook could still find himself back at Vivint Smart Arena by the time the 2018-19 campaign reaches its conclusion.
OKC is currently the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and Utah is No. 6, meaning they could potentially position themselves for another first-round playoff series meeting if there is some slight movement in the standings down the stretch.