Over the years, Russell Westbrook has had a shaky relationship with fans of the Utah Jazz. During the 2018 Playoffs, Westbrook was fined for slapping a phone out of a fan’s hand in Salt Lake City and, within the same postseason series, now-Senator Mitt Romney was captured taunting the Oklahoma City Thunder guard.
On Monday evening, things again escalated between the former NBA MVP and the crowd in Utah, with Westbrook seen using profanity in a fan’s direction during a game between the Thunder and Jazz.
At this point, it is unclear what the fan (or the fan’s wife) said to Westbrook that inspired this raw reaction but, at the very least, it is safe to assume that tensions were running (quite) high. In the past, Westbrook has shed light on statements being lobbed in his direction by the same crowd.
“I didn’t confront fans; fans confronted me,” Westbrook said, via ESPN in April 2018. “Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It’s truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids. It’s truly disrespectful to the game, man.”
Details are important in this case, especially when attempting to determine whether Westbrook will face any kind of discipline for the NBA for using profanity in the direction of a fan. Still, it isn’t great that any kind of fiery interaction is taking place between an NBA player and a fan in this form, and it isn’t the first time in Salt Lake City.