Players protection program


New York Post

Westbrook exploded again, but this time it wasn’t his stat line. During a high intensity,  rivalry game, the Utah Jazz took on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Salt Lake.

Westbrook said  that the fan, Shane Keisel, told Westbrook, “Get down on your knees like you used to”, which Russell responded to by telling the guy, “I’ll f**k you up… I swear to God I’ll f**k you up, you and your wife. I’ll f**k you and your wife up.”

In a post game interview, Westbrook explained what happened and explained how the man’s comment made Westbrook feel attacked and unwelcomed. He explained how he felt it was a racist comment. Westbrook continued and said that he wasn’t going to harm the man or the wife but he thinks something needs to happen in order to protect the players.

People found Keisel’s twitter page and found many racist comments and hateful post towards Westbrook. A tweet posted by Keisel called Westbrook, “a piece of s**t” and many other tweets of this nature.

This isn’t the first time Westbrook has had issues with fans. Last year in the playoffs, Westbrook got into an quarrel with a different Jazz fan. During the 2016-2017 seasons the Thunder traveled to Philadelphia to play against the 76ers. A 76ers fan gave Westbrook the double bird and yelled some colorful expressions at him. Westbrook gave the man a blank stare and moved on.

Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the NBA, and the fan was banned from all events at the Vivint Smart Home Arena for life. Is that enough? Is that too much? How should the NBA handle these situations?

Fans need to be held accountable for what they say, and since the Players are professionals, they need to be the bigger person and bring these things to the security guards attention.  If you are sitting by a fan that is using vulgar or offensive phrases, instead of letting it slide let the ushers and security guards know, that is part of the reason that they are there. If there is a recurring incident fans should be kicked out of their seat for the game, and maybe suspended for the next 5 home games.

Players need to be the bigger person and brush things like this off. While they should not sweep it under the carpet, they should talk to security guards about it during the game, then discuss issues with coaching staffs and the media. Trying to handle the situation yourself doesn’t end up well.

Arguments can be made that Westbrook should be able to respond. But if he does, he should not threaten the fan, but rather tell him to knock it off and be respectful. Both fans and players need to be held to higher standards.

NBA games should be a safe fun place where players and fans have respect towards each other. People should just go to have fun and be entertained. Fans should not use it as an opportunity to yell harmful phrases to the players.