Mendoza: Fan suing Utah Jazz, Westbrook

Al Mendoza

NOW let’s go easy on banning our own fans. We might get sued.

A fan of the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz is suing—of all teams—the Utah Jazz after being banned for life from the team’s arena.

His supposed crime?

Racial taunts directed at point guard Russell Westbrook.

Funny, but Westbrook isn’t even a Utah Jazz but a Houston Rocket now after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder this year.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Shane Keisel has sued the Utah Jazz for $100 million (roughly P5 billion). Westbrook is claiming that there was nothing racial about his heckling while he was playing during the Jazz-Rocket game in March.

Keisel said as a result of the ban on him, the high-profile incident has cost him his job and exposed him to online threats.

AP said, the Jazz management, after investigating the episode, was standing pat on its decision to bar Keisel from the arena.

The Jazz will “vigorously defend” itself from the lawsuit, said Frank Zang, the senior vice president of communications for the Jazz parent company, Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment.

Westbrook himself had been fined $25,000 by the NBA after a video of him showed he was directing vulgar comments at Keisel in the crowd.

Noted for his in-game exchanges with fans, Westbrook was seen along the sideline using threatening language that also referred to Keisel’s girlfriend present in the game.

Westbrook argued he had been provoked by Keisel who told him to “get down on your knees like you used to.”

Westbrook said he would never abuse a woman, claiming Keisel’s taunts went over the line, especially after past “disrespectful comments from other Utah fans.”

Westbrook’s position was backed by Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who said it wasn’t the first time that a racially motivated event occurred at a Jazz game, said AP.

Will Keisel win his $100-M suit against the Jazz and Westbrook, $32M of which is for his girlfriend?

I’ll stalk this up to the ends of the Earth.

Merry Christmas!