While the OKC Thunder lost to the Denver Nuggets in a see-saw game, one budding headline surrounded Russell Westbrook’s reaction to a child fan.
While the OKC Thunder dropped a tough one to the Denver Nuggets 121-112 in Mile High City, a budding storyline surrounding Russell Westbrook’s reaction to a child fan touching him took on a life of its own.
The video below shows the young fan touch Westbrook after Steven Adams is called for a moving screen. In the heat of the moment, Russ turns to the fan and appears to be ready to yell at him. The Brodie realizes its a young child and changes a potentially ugly in an opportunity to teach.
We don’t know for sure what Russ said but one can assume it’s letting him know that it is not ok to touch the players especially in the heat of a game. The Brodie turns to the child’s parents to encourage his message of being careful around people he doesn’t know.
Westbrook solidifies his position in a post-game interview following the team’s loss.
NBA must protect the players
While the confrontation wasn’t life-threatening, there have been plenty of examples of fans taunting, abusing, fighting or even more serious crimes against professional athletes. Unlike other sports, NBA players are the most vulnerable with fans seated virtually on the court.
Even though some may see Russ’ reaction as an overreaction, we don’t have to wait for something more serious to happen before we take action. NBA players deserve to be protected and while fans pay good money for court-side seats, it gives them no right to do what they please.
The NBA has dealt with serious off-court incidences in the past (Malice in the Palace) while some have been very close to turning into something serious (remember Adams challenging a fan in Denver from the previous game?). Bottom line is the association must do better to protect the players to ensure their safety.
Adam Silver needs to address this as soon as possible.