The NBA will not hand down a suspension or fine to Russell Westbrook following an incident with a fan Thursday night in Denver according to ESPN’s Royce Young.
There will be no punishment from the league for Russell Westbrook stemming from last night’s incident with a courtside fan in Denver.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 2, 2018
While some speculated that Westbrook would face a fine at the very least, it appears that the league has shown the MVP point guard some sympathy.
Russ gets a fan in his face, pushes him away pic.twitter.com/2gP5H1QRKg
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 2, 2018
The fan shouldn’t have been out on the floor in the first place, and it’s quite clear that he was trying to provoke a reaction. Westbrook’s reaction — a shove with his left hand — was apparently deemed inoffensive enough to not warrant any action.
In my opinion, the NBA has done the right thing. While player and fan contact can recall horrible visions of the Malice in the Palace, the NBA took a sensible approach to this situation. The game — and especially the final few minutes — were hard-fought and physical, and it takes some time to wind down, even (or perhaps especially) for some of the world’s best athletes.
Provoking Westbrook in the heat of the moment was an intentional “Gotcha!” act, and the league has shown something important here: they’re going to side with the players in these situations. I applaud the common sense approach.
Obviously, this is a much different story if Westbrook had escalated the situation somehow, but the league has deemed his response acceptable.
There is still no word on whether or not the fan, who was in violation of NBA rules, will be handed any punishment.