Shane Keisel, the Utah Jazz fan who was threatened by Russell Westbrook, is a former Utah Highway Patrolman and Toyota car salesman. During the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 98-89 victory in Utah, Westbrook was involved in an incident with a fan, Keisel, and his wife.
The altercation was captured on video by Deseret News’ reporter Eric Woodyard. Westbrook told a security guard that he would “f*** him [the fan] up.” Westbrook continues, “I promise you. You think I’m playing? I swear to God. I swear to God. I’ll f*** you up. You and your wife. I’ll f*** you up… I promise you. On everything I love. Everything I love. I promise you.”
In a statement released on March 12, the Utah Jazz announced that they had banned Keisel from attending games for life. The franchise said they took the decision following an “investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts. The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Keisel Says He Has Another Video of the Incident That He’s Going to Give for Friends in the ‘Social Media Business’
Keisel told KSL in an interview that he didn’t say, “Get down on [your] knees like you used to.” Keisel says he told Westbrook, “Sit down and ice your knees bro,” as the OKC guard was getting treatment on his knees. Keisel says, “And he turned to me and was like, ‘That’s heat. That’s heat.’ I’m like, ‘Well you’re gonna need it’ and then it turned.” Keisel says he could not tolerate Westbrook threatening his wife saying, “She never left her seat, never said a word, hands in her lap… I’m not afraid of the guy. Come on up. But when you threaten a woman that’s 5-feet tall and 110 pounds, you’re a big man. So this guy needs to be exposed.” Keisel says that there is another video of the incident that he was going to give to “friends that are in the social media business.”
Westbrook told the media in the locker room that Keisel told him to “get down on my knees like you used to.” Westbrook stated his opinion that he felt the comments were racial in nature. He added that verbal abuse is common for him in Utah and that he was not going to take it anymore. Westbrook concluded by saying, “There’s got to be consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to do and say whatever they want to say.” Westbrook also addressed the allegation he threatened Keisel’s wife saying, “As for beating up his wife, I’ve never put my hand on a woman. I never will.”
2. Keisel’s Cousin Is Former Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End Brett Keisel
In a post on his official website, former Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keisel identified Keisel as his cousin. In that post, Brett says that his cousin had been deployed to Iraq. Brett is a member of the Mormon church.
On his Twitter page, author Boyd Keisel says he is Brett Keisel’s uncle.
3. Since Leaving the Utah Highway Patrol, Keisel Has Worked as a Toyota Car Salesman
According to an online profile, Keisel was formerly on the Utah High Highway Patrol when he decided to switch careers to “selling Toyotas.” Keisel writes that, “While I loved serving the people of Utah by keeping the highways safe, I now enjoy helping the people of Utah have the best car buying experience possible.” During his time with the highway patrol, Keisel was the department’s principal contact with the Utah Department of Public Safety.
4. A Fake Twitter Account Has Been Misleading Supporters of Both Westbrook & Keisel
A fake Twitter account has been misleading both supporters of Keisel and Westbrook on social media. The fake Twitter account tweeted after the incident, “This demonstrates how fake news has infiltrated our media. My wife and I have already contacted our attorney.” In subsequent tweets, the fake account said, “I did not swear or threaten him,” and also said, “My official statement regarding the interaction with Russell Westbrook tonight in Salt Lake City will be posted via my attorney, shortly.”
5. Westbrook’s Teammates Have Come to His Defense
Thunder player, Patrick Patterson, took his teammate’s side in a tweet after the game writing, “Fans can say s*** about a mans family, wife, & kids.. Tell a player “Get down on your knees like your use to.” As men, what do you expect us to do? Shut up & dribble? No one is held accountable for their actions except for us. Fans are protected in every way possible but not us.”
While another teammate, Raymond Felton, told the media that Westbrook deals with more than his fair share of abuse from fans. The former New York Knick said, “It’s not fair to tell a man to get on his knees: ‘That’s what you’re used to doing.’ Then turn around and his wife reiterates it and says it right back to him again. It’s not right. Then everybody wants to make a big deal out of what [Westbrook] said, but let’s talk about what they said to him first.”