Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook Verbal Altercation with Jazz Fans Caught on Video

Zachary Low



Sometime during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 98-89 victory over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday night, Russell Westbrook was caught on video shouting at some nearby Jazz fans:

While the context of Westbrook’s comment are not exactly known at this time, the reaction from the former MVP is not a good look for him or for the Thunder.

After the game, Thunder forward Patrick Patterson made some comments on Twitter that seem to offer a little more light to the situation:

While it’s never okay for an NBA player to react in such an aggressive manner to a fan in the stands, especially a woman, it appears that some pretty awful things were said to Westbrook that might explain his response as caught on video. Considering the fact that Jazz fans have a history of making verbally abusive remarks to opposing players, as well as the history that Westbrook has experienced in Salt Lake City, it makes sense that Westbrook would have the type of response that he did.

As far as consequences go, Westbrook can pretty much guarantee a fine–perhaps a suspension–for his role in the altercation. If he has to miss time, the Thunder will certainly miss him, but when this situation is all said and done, hopefully he can move forward and be more prepared to deal with similar situations in the future. More importantly, the league needs to do a better job at protecting its players from unruly fans spouting hate speech.


Utah media were able to talk to the fan involved in the altercation with Westbrook, and he gave his side of the story:

His version is different from the one that Patrick Patterson offered. Patterson was sitting right next to Westbrook when the situation went down. Perhaps the fan is telling the truth, and Westbrook/the Thunder bench simply misheard what he said. Perhaps the fan is misrepresenting what actually happened. Either way, players cannot threaten fans, and hopefully this does not come back to bite Russell Westbrook or the Oklahoma City Thunder.

**UPDATE #2**

Russell Westbrook gave a brief statement on what happened with the Utah Jazz fans:

Paul George had some comments on the situation as well:

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  1. At what point does he take it too far? Threatening a man’s wife? I mean come on.

    Heckling has been around since the dawn of sports. Athletes are paid a lot of money and hearing the crowd is part of the experience.

    The worst part is that Russ had a fantastic game tonight and the Thunder appear to be coming out of their slump. Yet, the only story line that is coming out of the arena is Russ yelling at a woman that he was going to, “F her up.”

    1. Racial slurs and hate speech are never okay.
      Players threatening fans, especially women, is not okay.

      Both of these things can be true.

      I’m not condoning what Westbrook did, but based on what appears to have been said, or perhaps even misunderstood (unlikely, in my opinion), then I at least understand on some level why he reacted the way that he did.

      Heckling as part of the experience is one thing. Hate speech is something else.

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