The Utah Jazz fan who witnesses say told Russell Westbrook to “get on your knees like you’re used to” will never watch a Jazz game in Utah again. At least not in-person.
The Jazz announced on Tuesday that the man, who was earlier identified as Shane Keisel, has been issued a permanent ban from not just Jazz games, but all Vivint Smart Home Arena events.
“The organization conducted an investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts,” the statement reads. “The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct.
“The Utah Jazz will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There is no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect.”
Westbrook was caught on video telling Keisel and his wife that he’d “f*ck you up.” Keisel said his comment that spurred Westbrook’s reaction was “just sit down and ice your knees, bro,” but Westbrook and two other Thunder teammates said he actually told Westbrook to “get on your knees like you’re used to.”
Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the NBA “for directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
Several Jazz players took Westbrook’s side on Tuesday
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell issued a lengthy statement:
We have to do better... we will do better! pic.twitter.com/heBO4z66TY— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 12, 2019
“I am personally hurt by the incident at the game on March 11th. As a black man living in a community that I love, playing on a team that gives me the opportunity of my dreams, this incident hits close to home.”
Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha also voiced his support for Westbrook with a statement issued on Instagram:
Thabo Sefolosha comments on the Russell Westbrook/Shane Kiesel interaction last night: pic.twitter.com/BdHStdF6dp— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 12, 2019
Center Rudy Gobert also came to Westbrook’s defense:
Jazz star Rudy Gobert also supports Russell Westbrook. "We have his back," Gobert told ESPN. "As much as I like to compete against Russ – and there’s always a little trash talk between me and him – as a human being, I feel for him and I understand his reaction." Story coming ...— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 12, 2019
National Basketball Players Association president Michele Roberts also issued a statement to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears:
Jazz owner addresses crowd
Team owner Gail Miller addressed the crowd before Tuesday night’s game, reading a prepared statement.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our ‘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, 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.”