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Utah Jazz ban fan who verbally abused Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook

Westbrook fined £19,000 by the NBA for "directing profanity and threatening language to a fan"

Sky Sports News

Tuesday 12 March 2019 21:59, UK

2:50
Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook says he was verbally provoked before directing a profanity-laced rant at a Utah Jazz fan

Utah Jazz have permanently banned the fan who abused Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook on Monday evening.

The ban is effective immediately and includes all events at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

The Jazz undertook an investigation and deemed the fan used "excessive and derogatory verbal abuse" towards Westbrook.

However, Westbrook has been fined £19,000 by the NBA for "directing profanity and threatening language to a fan".

The incident occurred during the Thunder's 98-89 win over the Jazz in Salt Lake City.

A NBA statement read: "Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has been fined $25,000 (£19,000) for directing profanity and threatening language to a fan, it was announced by Kiki Van DeWeghe, executive vice president, Basketball Operations.

"The Utah Jazz previously announced that the individual involved in the incident with Westbrook has been permanently banned from the Vivint Smart Home Arena."

Russell Westbrook drives to the rim against Utah
Image: Westbrook drives to the rim against Utah

After the game, Westbrook gave his explanation to the verbal exchange.

He said: "How it started was, a young man and his wife in the stands told me 'to get down on my knees like you used to'.

"To me, that's just completely disrespectful, to me, I think it's racial, and I think it's inappropriate and insensitive.

"Then there are people that come to the game to say mean, disrespectful things about me, my family.

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"And if I had to do it again, I would say the same exact thing, because I truly will stand up for myself, for my family, for my kids, for my wife, for my mom, for my dad every single time. I expect anybody else to do the same.

"As for beating up his wife, I've never put my hand on a woman. I never will. Never been in any domestic violence before. But once he said the comment, and his wife repeated the same thing as well. That's kind of how that started."

Salt Lake City NBC 5 identified the male fan involved in the exchange as Shane Keisel, a Jazz fan, and spoke with him.

Keisel said he was playfully bantering with Westbrook before Westbrook started cursing at him.

"I never said a single swear word to him, not one," Keisel told the TV station. "Initially, I was like, 'Oh, I'm talking with Westbrook, the guy is one of the greats. He's also classless.

"He can threaten me all he wants. I was the one talking to him, but don't threaten a woman. She's 5ft tall and 110 pounds, man. [She] never said a word to him."