Russell Westbrook, a Jazz fan and the Jazz fan’s wife got into an altercation during Monday night’s 98-89 Thunder win in Utah.
It’s far from the first time Westbrook has had an issue with things Jazz fans have said, and this time he fired back by telling the fan, “I’ll f*ck you up. You and your wife.” After the game, Westbrook explained what the fan said (as was confirmed by Patrick Patterson) and offered a statement about his frustration with the lack of protection for players in these incidents, as well as noting he would say it again, saying he would no longer tolerate disrespect from fans.
The league will surely look into the matter, but the Jazz are as well. Late Monday night the team released a statement saying they would be conducting an investigation to find out if the NBA’s Code of Conduct was violated, and take appropriate action.
None of the fans in question were ejected from the game, instead they were handed “warning cards” by stadium security to alert them that they had violated the fan code of conduct and another instance would lead to their ejection.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Jazz investigation (or any further look into the incident from the league) yields any further recourse for the fans in question, while one can be all but assured Westbrook will catch a fine for what he said. Still, given the way Westbrook and his teammates reacted, this may be the starting point of a larger discussion about hecklers and how the league should handle them, as it’s clear players are tired of disrespectful comments from the stands.