Jazz owner Gail Miller delivers a message to fans after Monday’s incident between a fan and Russell Westbrook, saying, “We are not a racist community.” (1:39)
On Tuesday, the team issued a lifetime ban to fan Shane Keisel for making degrading comments to Westbrook during Monday’s game at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The other incident occurred last season, before Game 4 of the Jazz’s first-round playoff series with the Thunder in Utah. In video posted on social media Tuesday, a fan is heard calling Westbrook “boy.”
Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller addressed the crowd before Thursday’s game to underscore the team’s willingness to enforce the NBA’s code of conduct following Monday’s incident involving Russell Westbrook and a fan who crossed the line.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook declined to share any thoughts Wednesday about the Jazz issuing a lifetime ban to the fan with whom he had a heated exchange during Monday night’s game in Utah.
Russell Westbrook said he would rough up a fan and his wife during the Thunder’s win in Utah, an exchange caught on video by a reporter and posted to Twitter.
“Don’t call me ‘boy,'” Westbrook told the fan, who repeated the phrase. Westbrook then motioned for security personnel.
It is unclear whether the Jazz front office was aware of the incident at the time, but after the video was posted on social media, the team tracked down the fan and gave him a permanent ban, the paper reported.
Before Thursday’s game, Jazz owner Gail Miller addressed the crowd to send a message to fans.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our quote ‘fans’ conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players and you, as the best fans in the NBA,” Miller said. “This should never happen. We are not a racist community. We believe in treating people with courtesy and respect as human beings. … We have a code of conduct in this arena. It will be strictly enforced.”
Video of Westbrook saying, “I’ll f— you up” to Keisel during the second quarter of Monday’s game went viral after being posted on social media. Westbrook said after the game that it was an emotional reaction to Keisel telling him, “Get on your knees like you’re used to,” a comment Westbrook considered “completely disrespectful” and “racial.”
The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 for directing profanity toward a fan. Multiple Jazz players, including franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, publicly supported Westbrook, with Mitchell saying he didn’t want Utah to have a negative reputation for athletes who potentially may want to play for the Jazz.