Russell Westbrook: Fan’s ability to confront him on court ‘totally unacceptable’ (vid)
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook says the fact that a fan was able to walk onto the court and confront him following Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets is “totally unacceptable.”
The incident played out following the Nuggets’ 127-124 buzzer-beater win over the Thunder at Pepsi Center. As Westbrook was walking off the court, a fan approached him, getting right in his face.
A fan got in Russell Westbrook's face on the court after the Thunder loss. pic.twitter.com/AwsPKPUYNu
— ESPN (@espn) February 2, 2018
Westbrook proceeded to shove the fan with his left hand on the shoulder before referees, an arena staffer and teammates began to intervene, motioning for the fan to leave the court.
Westbrook after the incident said “of course” it was acceptable for him to shove the fan during the confrontation as a way to protect himself.
“You gotta be able to protect the players, man,” Westbrook said, via ESPN. “The fans are obviously there to enjoy the game, but they can’t come onto the floor. That’s totally unacceptable.
“They’ll look at it and figure out what’s the best way to deal with it, but to me, that’s just totally unacceptable.”
The NBA indicated it would review the incident.
According to the NBA fan code of conduct, fans “attempting to enter the court … will be subject to ejection without refund and revocation of season tickets and may also be in violation of city ordinances resulting in possible arrest and prosecution.”
The incident without question was a scary one, but thankfully it did not escalate beyond Westbrook’s shove. The case can be made that Westbrook had the right to protect himself in such a manner. And given the close proximity between fans and the court at NBA arenas, it’s obviously a complicated situation for the league. Although it’s certainly something the NBA needs to address in some manner.