Russell Westbrook had to pay $25,000 for “engaging” with a Utah Jazz fan on Monday night. That fan, Shane Keisel, has since been banned from attending future Jazz games thanks to supporting evidence from folks in the stands.
Keisel is now apparently set to sue Westbrook, so it seems unlikely that we’ve heard the last of this story. Meanwhile LeBron James has said that he supports Westbrook and the Jazz in their banning of Keisel.
James is probably right that Westbrook could have chosen different words to combat Keisel, but he’s also correct in that Keisel crossed a line that’s unacceptable. Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke along the same lines, saying that basic human decency needs to come into play.
“We forget that this is a human game sometimes, the players have to be human, and the fans have to be human,” Rivers said. “What I always tell our players is that human decency comes into play — be decent to the fans, in a human way, and they need to be that to you. And if they’re not, if [the player] can not react, that’d be great. But sometimes as a human it’s very difficult not to react. But either way you alert people. And I thought that’s what happened.”
NBA players and the NBA family usually stick together in situations like this, but I think we’re all on Westbrook’s side in this case.