A fan that was permanently banned from Vivint Smart Home Arena following a verbal altercation with then Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook during a game last season, has filed a lawsuit against the Jazz and Westbrook.
According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Shane Keisel claims that language he and his girlfriend, Jennifer Huff, used toward Westbrook was “the same kind and caliber as that of the other audience members in the section”, refuting that anything was racist or derogatory, which Westbrook alleged.
According to the lawsuit, Keisel and Huff are seeking $100 million in damages on claims of defamation and emotional distress from the incident that occurred back in March of this year.
A video of part of the confrontation went viral, and in it you can hear Westbrook tell Keisel and Huff, “I’ll f— you up”, which Westbrook claims was an emotional response to Keisel telling him, “Get on your knees like you’re used to, which was something Westbrook stated that he considered “completely disrespectful” and “racial.”
Keisel claimed at the time, and again within his lawsuit, that he told Westbrook to “ice those knees up.” Keisel adds that his family has been harassed and that he has lost work since the incident with Westbrook.
The Jazz banned Keisel permanently back in March of this year, shortly after everything went public. The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 “for directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”
“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, said via the report. “We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”