UPDATED: 6:12 p.m. EDT — The fan who was banned for life from attending anymore Utah Jazz fans because of his confrontation with Russell Westbrook Monday night said he planned to sue the NBA superstar.
“He can threaten me all he wants,” Shane Keisel told KSL-TV on Tuesday in announcing the pending lawsuit. “I was the one talking to him … but don’t threaten a woman. She’s 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, man. Never said a word to him.”
Keisel also said he and his family have received death threats.
The NBA announced Tuesday that it has fined Westbrook $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
UPDATED: 5:18 pm. EDT — The fan accused of racially taunting NBA superstar Russell Westbrook Monday night has been banned for life from ever coming back to Vivint Smart Home Arena, where the Utah Jazz plays their home games. The Jazz posted a brief statement on Twitter announcing the lifetime ban without mentioning Shane Keisel, the fan, by name.
The NBA, in turn, fined Westbrook $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
“I’ll f*ck you up,” Westbrook told Keisel in a moment that was caught on video. “You and your wife.”
Hours after Monday night’s confrontation, racist tweets from Keisel’s now-deleted Twitter account surfaced online.
Russell Westbrook suspected his nasty confrontation with an NBA fan in Utah Monday night was racially fueled. Now he has his proof.
Westbrook, one of professional basketball’s biggest stars and starting point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, led his team into Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena, one of the NBA’s most raucous arenas. Consequently, Jazz fan Shane Keisel got into a shouting match with Westbrook that made national news for the NBA star physically threatening him and his wife in no uncertain terms.
Both Westbrook and Keisel gave the media their versions of the story, which each placing the blame on one another. But it was Westbrook who specifically said he thought that Keisel’s comments during the exchange were “racial” in nature.
Internet sleuths promptly got to work and uncovered what appeared to be a series of racist tweets posted to Keisel’s Twitter account that were later deleted. They include one tweet saying that “Westbrook needs to go back where he came from” and another where he called someone “nigger boy.” At least one had the #MAGA hashtag.
There was also another tweet where Keisel appeared to encourage violence against Westbrook.
NBA players have long complained about being subjected to racism from fans around the country, but especially those in Utah.
During a playoff series in 2016, Utah Jazz “fans apparently shouted racist comments at African-American players on the [Golden State] Warriors,” according to Bleacher Report.
“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.’
“Jason Richardson said he and his teammates were caught off-guard by the slurs.
“‘That was something new. It shocked all of us,’ he said. ‘We weren’t expecting that. I mean, [Jazz fans] were trying to get into our heads any way they can, but I couldn’t believe anybody would stoop that low. It’s nonsense.'”
The racism among NBA fans wasn’t only restricted to Utah, either.
While NBA megastar LeBron James didn’t point to one particular instance where he was the target of fans’ racism, he did say he tries to block everything out before stating the obvious about the league: “Racism, we know, exists.”