F*CK RACISM! Let me take the edits off for once. And this time I’m not sorry. And if you don’t agree or like my or Russell Westbrook’s reaction then this is a product of the hate you give.
Racism has no place in this game. It has no place in this world. It has no place anywhere.
After the storm and with the Thunder back in his Oklahoma home, Russell Westbrook launched a pair of his Air Jordan’s into the crowd following his home-stand. And catching them with grateful glee was a young kid decked out in the OKC City Edition jersey now with a new pair of Nike’s to lace up and match. The look on his face was as priceless as those game work drops by the O.K. God himself. So much joy he could cry as he took them in wide eyed, before his mum caught it all on smartphone cell camera for a different kind of permanence of this once in a lifetime moment courtside. All complete with auxiliary charge cable in her handbag…you have to love that as they hugged with lottery like winning celebration. Nice arm Russ. Great catch kid.
Now this is why we play.
Not to be heckled, harassed, abused, attacked, antagonized. Or called “boy”. It doesn’t matter which State you are up in. Or if you think your Trump privilege, or season ticket with the best seat in the house allows you to act out like you’re part of this game and not just receiving the privilege of being able to watch it…whilst you still can.
Are you listening those in Utah? A big and beautiful city full of kind-hearted and lovely people. Except…like anywhere those racist, ignorant individuals who think in stereotypes and believe in discrimination like everyone else does equality, peace, liberty and justice for all. You are not respecting the flag with this kind of bulls### behaviour. This is why people are taking a knee.
Because two nights before last Russell Westbrook got into a verbal altercation with a fan after receiving that very same abuse unprovoked by him. And check the tapes. Or the Twitter timelines. Because this isn’t the first time this sort of cruel, derogatory behaviour has been put on this singled out, singular talent of NBA. Much more to this game, association and country than the fat fans spitting abuse through alcohol and corn dogs, drunk off privilege perceived power. The fan in question despite his Donald like interview postgame and a MAGA timeline to match was said to have told Westbrook to “get down on his knees like you’re used to”. To which Russ-who this man in pathetic attempted rebuttal called “one of the greats, but classless” (very poor choice of words)-replied in kind telling the man with restrained, enraged Michael Beasley passion that he was “going to f### him up, swearing on everything he loves. But then losing his nerve and control he also added, “you and your wife”.
Which was too far but in defence, he was only defending himself by any words necessary. He later took it back stating that he “would never lay a hand on a woman”. And we believe him. Who we don’t believe is that coward courtside who should be more like that young grateful man last night and not like a child. Westbrook’s comments in this Wild West clash cost him 25 grand. But he still left the game under pressure with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists and on reflection a 98-89 win. The Utah fan on the other hand of this exchange left the game unable to return to the Jazz arena ever again.
A lifetime ban. Justice served like the drop of a gavel.
“If I had it to do over again, I would say the exact same thing. I truly will stand up for myself and my family.” Russ told press postgame after years of telling Utah crowds “I’m not a boy”, or batting away stray hand and offensive gestures whilst just trying to play this game here.
Athletes may entertain us and we may pay the price to see them play. But they shouldn’t have to. They aren’t merely here to entertain us or bend to our whim, abusive comment or gesture, or not. They are here for something more. To compete for something we aren’t as half as invested in as we think we are sat on our seat. They are not here to dance. They are not here to perform. They are here to play for something that holds so much more importance than our own ignorance. We are living in a time where racism is still so alive and they ain’t even concealing it anymore. Word to the old Kanye…but it ain’t a choice Mr. West. We are living in a time where only this week in this writers home country a fan ran on a Premier League pitch and attacked a player during an Aston Villa game. What gives them the gall or the balls to think they even have the right?
And back in Utah in this post Hayward era with the new Donovan Mitchell age of star power and future, the fans aren’t only hurting their opposition but their own too. “Racism and hate speech hurts us all, and this is not the first time something like this has happened in our arena. The Utah that I have come to love is welcoming and inclusive and last night’s incident is not indicative of our fanbase,” Spida says. And if some select few fans ruin this for all of Utah then the Jazz stand to lose more than their star out in the desserted dessert. This legendary, golden era franchise known for Karl Malone just as much as John Stockton could end up being pick and roll delivered elsewhere outside Salt Lake City if they’re not careful. Think that’s merely a threat. Remember where we had the All Star Game this year? How about what happened to the great North Carolina city of Charlotte when they tried to play host two years prior all whilst barring the LBGT community from the basic rights of their city? I promise this could be it if a stop isn’t put to this s###.
The Jazz fan who has already been named and shamed but doesn’t even really deserve our or anybodies (let alone a superstar role models) time, tweeted in October that Westbrook “should go back home where he came from”. Well now this real zero can watch this hero play his Jazz and rub salt into Utah’s racist fans (not the decent, beautiful like the game ones) wounds game after game, season after season.
From the comfort of his own home.
Because when it comes to an arena full of cheers to the greats in their own class, you ain’t going nowhere buddy boy.
Because Russell Westbrook stood up for what he believed in, instead of falling on his knees…like he never does. Or ever will.