Russell Westbrook has a point about fans crossing the line

Russell Westbrook has a point about fans crossing the line

When attending an NBA game involving Russell Westbrook, you might want to be careful what words you let slip out of your mouth. Westbrook has never been with the foolishness of fans, but in the past few years, it’s like he’s been on a crusade to confront any fan who crosses him. Westbrook had another incident with a heckler in the stands on Monday and took time out of his busy schedule to acknowledge.

“It’s just unfortunate fans think they can get away with saying anything, and personally, I won’t allow it. The moment that line gets crossed, I won’t allow it no more. I stood for it for years. Now that my son is old enough to know what’s going on… Now I gotta stand on it,” Westbrook said after the game.

Only Westbrook, the fan in question and those within earshot know what was said to set off the former MVP. While many players let the taunts roll off their backs, we’ve seen an increasing number of incidents between fans and players escalating. From Westbrook to LeBron James and even Kyrie Irving, athletes are tired of “taking the high road.” People attending games have become so entitled that it’s despicable.

Purchasing a ticket doesn’t grant one access to say anything they want. Heckling, jeering, talking trash is one thing. But when fans get too vulgar and start name-calling, especially using those words everyone should know are off limits, that’s where some players draw the line. Athletes are human, just like everyone else. Bigger, more genetically gifted humans than most, but still human. Everyone has a tipping point, and Westbrook has drawn his line in the sand.

Sure, Westbrook should turn the other cheek, but that method hasn’t always worked for everybody. As long as Westbrook isn’t running into the stands like we’ve seen in the past, it should be no harm, no foul. If you can dish it, be able to take it as well. A couple of years ago, James had fans thrown out of a game against the Pacers. Westbrook had an incident while playing for the Wizards where a fan tossed popcorn on him as he exited the court to the locker room.

Some of these fans need to be brought down a peg and have their entitlement checked. Approaching players in public to troll, knowing there’s a buffer, is how clowns move. Yet, we see things like this all the time. It’s always best for players to walk away, but that can be tougher for some. Westbrook is a frequent target and always has been, but he’s not accepting that behavior. In the NFL, a Buffalo Bills player had an incident over the weekend where he “allegedly” shoved a Philly fan for something he said. There’s a reason no one likes Eagles fans, but you can’t get that lost in the moment as a player.

It’d be nice if leagues like the NBA could do more to prevent spectators from going overboard, but you can’t catch everyone. It’s a problem that’ll continue to get worse as long as teams serve alcohol at games. There’s too much money involved with sponsorships and concession sales to eliminate it. Therefore, folks will continue indulging in their liquid courage, which prompts some to say what they feel deep down on the fly.

Where Westbrook is concerned, some will disagree, but I’ve got no issue with him barking back at these fools. Fans want to talk crazy, let ‘em. But don’t go crying foul when you get that same energy in return. Too many “fanatics” need reality checks, whether at games or online via social media. Talking recklessly might get you put in your place. Wesbrook looks like he’s on a mission to do just that with any outlaw fan who steps in his path.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.