A Utah Jazz fan who has been permanently banned from attending games at Vivint Smart Home Arena is suing the team as well as Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN. This stems from the fan getting into a verbal altercation with Westbrook when the Jazz were playing the Oklahoma City Thunder last year. The lawsuit was filed on Monday and the fan, Shane Keisel, claims that the language he and his girlfriend, Jennifer Huff used, was "the same kind and caliber as that of the other audience members in the section" and was not racist as Westbrook, who was a member of the Thunder last season, alleged at the time. Keisel and Huff are seeking $100 million in damages on claims of defamation and emotional distress.
The incident occurred in March and Westbrook was seen verbally attacking Keisel.
"I promise you. You think I'm playing?" he said per USA Today. "I swear to God. I swear to God. I'll f— you up. You and your wife. I'll f— you up."
After the game, Westbrook explained why he was yelling at the fans.
"A young man and his wife in the stands told me to get down on my knees like you used to," he said. "To me, that's just completely disrespectful. I think it's racial, and I think it's inappropriate in the sense that there's no protection for the players.
"I think there are a lot of great fans around the world that like to come to the game and enjoy the game. And there are people that come to the game to say mean, disrespectful things about me, my family."
Keisel shared his side of the story after the game he said: "It was when Joe (Ingles) had come by and poked Paul George in the eye, and then Joe goes over and apologizes immediately. Russ is just F-bombing and carrying on, acting a fool down here, and everybody's getting on him.
"He had, I guess heat, I thought it was ice, I just told him, 'Sit down and ice your knees, bro.' And he turned to me and he's like, 'That's heat, that's heat.' And I'm like, 'Well, you're gonna need it.' And then it turned into not safe for work.0comments
"I never said a swear word to him. Everybody in the vicinity will say it. And she never left her seat, never said a word, hands in her lap. Never said a single swear word to him, not one. Initially, I was like, 'Oh, I'm talking with Westbrook. The guy's one of the greats.' But he's also classless."
The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 for the incident and the Jazz permanently banned Keisel. The team is planning to defend the lawsuit.