Last season, Russell Westbrook led the Oklahoma City Thunder into a battle with the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. During the game, Westbrook responded to a heckling fan and his girlfriend who was ousted from the arena and banned.
The fan, Shane Keisel, has filed a lawsuit against the Jazz and Westbrook for $100 million. Keisel states he and his girlfriend Jennifer Huff used language “the same kind and caliber as that of the other audience members in the section,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The man also stated he did not use racist or derogatory language.
The $100 million tag is attached to defamation and emotional distress claims. Keisel states his family has been threatened and he lost work since the incident happened.
Westbrook stated he was told “get on your knees like you’re used to” by the fan, which he deemed as “completely disrespectful” and “racial.” Keisel states he said, “ice those knees up.”
“The organization investigated the underlying incident and acted in an appropriate and responsible manner,” Frank Zang, senior vice president of communications for Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, told the Tribune. “We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
The fan received a permanent ban in March, Westbrook was fined $25,000 “for directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”