Russell Westbrook isn’t a big fan of Utah Jazz fans or fans that get too close to him. Shit, he even shoved a fan out of his face last year in Denver when the fan screamed in his face and got to close to him on the court. The guy kind of deserved it. Also, last postseason, Westbrook swatted a phone out of the hand of a fan after losing Game 6 of the first round to Utah. Now this season, something caused Westbrook to snap yet again.
First of all, it doesn’t take much to get Westbrook riled up. He has a short temper, but not enough to threaten someone. Not unless they say something to provoke him. Even then, it probably has to be extremely provoking. And that’s exactly what this Utah Jazz fan did.
According to Westbrook, the fan said: “Get down on your knees like you used to.” After a couple back and fourths, the wife of the fan repeated the same sentence. This prompted an “I’ll fuck you up, you and your wife” response from Russell
If you haven’t been told racist/ignorant things in your life, I don’t think you’ll ever understand where Westbrook is coming from. During my time running this website, I never once wanted to bring any sort of politics here, and I don’t intend to much. But when the Utah Jazz fan was interviewed after the game, he claims all he said to Westbrook was “Ice those knees up! Ice those knees up! You’re going to need it!” Sheesh. If I was a betting man, I’d probably put all my money on him saying something racist to Westbrook. Need proof?
Not enough for you? Here’s another one.
That’s all I have to say in Westbrook’s case.
But that’s not the first incident in which a Utah fan did or said something fucked up.
In a Bleacher Report article from 2008, it details an incident where Derek Fisher, who was once on the Jazz in ’06-’07, was asked to be released so he could be there for his daughter while she got treatment in LA for a rare type of eye cancer.
For some reason, Jazz fans saw this as ammunition against Fisher. When Fisher went to the free throw line to shoot a technical foul in his return game to Utah the following season, some dipshit fan decided to cover his right eye while screaming at Fisher. Jazz fans were also heard shouting “Cancer” towards Fisher throughout the game.
That’s not even the last incident. The other was during Fisher’s postseason with the Jazz, where fans screamed racial slurs to the African-American players on the Warriors.
Here’s an excerpt from the Bleacher Report Article:
Talking about the difference between playing at home compared to on the road during the series against the Jazz, Warriors forward Stephen Jackson said, “Well, we’re not hearing racial slurs, we’re not hearing people wishing for me to go to jail. That’s the difference for me. I’m loved here in Oakland.”
What the hell is wrong with Jazz fans? I understand trying to get in a player’s head. But nasty, racist, no moral comments don’t have a place in sports, or anywhere to be exact. Why is society backwards in Salt Lake? Now, I know it’s not just Salt Lake. People in sports arenas around the World say stupid shit like this. What is this, West Ham United?
Honestly, the Jazz isn’t the only franchise in the NBA where fans have been racist. Last year in a game at Cleveland, Patty Mills, who has parents that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, was told “Hey, Jamaican dog. They want their bobsledder back.” Also, should I mention the incident where an 11-year-old Mariachi singer named Sebastien De La Cruz was the subject of various racist tweets after he sang the national anthem for game 3 of the NBA Finals at San Antonio? An 11-year-old shouldn’t have to go through that shit. But for that specific situation, it was a Twitter attack so there’s nothing the NBA can do to help. But there is something that needs to be done to get the fans and the players away from each other. Or at least to stop these incidents from occurring.
Maybe there should be some type of barrier between fans and the NBA players. Basketball is the only sport with no clear barriers preventing the fans from getting too close. There are too many instances where fans get involved and it turns into chaos. The Malice at the Palace. Marcus Smart when he was in college almost fucked up a fan.
But no barriers is what makes the NBA one of the most unique leagues in the world. Besides, do you know how much a fucking court side seat costs? Thousands usually. You think the NBA will fuck around and lose those thousands nightly because of incidents like these? You’re better off just sending a letter to yourself with the words “Fuck off” because that’s all you’ll get from the NBA.
Do we instill harsh punishments to paying customers? Yes. Yes. Yes. For racist/horrid comments, give them the ban!
But… stuff like that can backfire. What if they just heckle someone? Maybe the owner of the New York Knicks? Charles Oakley got thrown out by Dolan. And a fan was recently thrown out for telling Dolan to sell the team. So the fans have a right to say stupid shit once in awhile. Like a “fuck you” chant here and there. But what if the owners have too much power and throw out anyone they please? Then the fans won’t want to go. This shit is like walking on egg shells.
At the end of the day, we’re all humans. When you hurl a racist comment at a player, expect them to come at you, even if you’re a fan. Because racism belongs no where. So the next time you heckle a player, be prepared for probably 80% of fans to back the player.