When it was learned that Russell Westbrook would be lost for the rest of the playoffs due to a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee that required surgery, there were sure to be some Thunder fans upset with the way one of their team’s best players was injured.
Westbrook collided with Patrick Beverley of the Rockets in the second quarter of Game 2, on a play where Beverley was trying to get a steal just as the Thunder were readying to call a timeout. While there was certainly no intent on Beverley’s part to injure Westbrook, there are some fans on the more extreme end of the spectrum that may not see it that way.
One of them, apparently, took to Twitter to reach out to Beverley directly, and did so in a manner that has them under investigation by the authorities.
From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
The vitriol about the play in which Westbrook suffered a season-ending knee injury escalated to death threats directed at Beverley, including one from someone who describes himself as a Thunder ball boy.
[He] sent a tweet that threatened, “Patrick Beverly (sic), I’m coming to kill you.” He sent another using Beverley’s Twitter handle; “@pavbev21 I’m coming to kill you.”
Capt. Dexter Nelson, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said officers in conjunction with the Houston Police Department and the NBA are looking into what he described as “Internet threats.”
Thunder spokesperson Matt Tumbleson said: “We do not condone his comments. He works game nights on a voluntary basis. We will handle this matter internally.”
In this age of Twitter where athletes are often subjected to horrific threats and slurs by anonymous people, when we actually have a real person attached to something like this that can be held responsible, we need to make sure there are consequences.
A forced apology or saying your account was “hacked” in a situation like this should not be enough to get this person off the hook with a mere slap on the wrist, and “handling the matter internally” is in no way an appropriate response.
If in fact the person who sent these comments Beverley’s way works for the Thunder in any capacity, the league needs to step in and make sure that immediately becomes a thing of the past.