Russell Westbrook’s popcorn incident earlier this week wasn’t the only fan altercation he has had in his career, and the fallout from a high-profile issue emerged on Thursday.
Utah Jazz fans’ $ 100 million lawsuit against the team has been dismissed years later they were banned from watching the team at the Vivint Arena. Fans have been banned for what has been called racial taunts directed at Westbrook during the 2019 incident.
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Shane Keisel said there was nothing racial about the heckling directed at Westbrook in the 2019 game. He said the incident cost him his job and exposed him to online threats. The Jazz said the team investigated the incident and upheld the decision to ban him and Jennifer Huff from it.
At the time, Westbrook was fined $ 25,000 by the NBA after a video was released showing the former Oklahoma City Thunder keeper making vulgar comments at Keisel in the crowd. Westbrook said at the time that he was provoked by the fan who told him to ‘kneel down like before’.
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Keisel was banned the next day.
In the lawsuit against Jazz, Keisel admitted to heckling Westbrook but insisted that he tell her to “take care of his knees” because the guard had wrapped them in towels. He denied the racial taunts.
Scott Hoyt, Keisel’s attorney, said his client intended to appeal the ruling. Jazz attorney Jeff Hunt said the team was “happy with the court’s decision.”
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Westbrook, who now plays for the Washington Wizards, was subjected to further abuse on Wednesday when he was thrown with popcorn in his hand. The Philadelphia 76ers have banned the fan indefinitely.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.