In the past, Russell Westbrook has been vocal about NBA fans touching or getting too close to players during games.
It’s something he addressed last year when someone approached him at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and something similar happened at that same arena on Tuesday night, Feb. 26.
Russell Westbrook pulled the dad card on a Nuggets fan after the kid gave him a little push. pic.twitter.com/b4nBTXlV9r
— ESPN (@espn) February 27, 2019
During a sequence in the third quarter of what became a 121-112 Denver Nuggets victory over Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder, the point guard fell out of bounds and a child in the front row reached out and shoved him.
At first it looked like Westbrook bent down to address the kid, but after the game Westbrook said he spoke to his dad.
“He hit me, so I told his dad, ‘Be careful, man, you can’t have your son just hitting random people,'” he explained.
“I don’t know him, he don’t know me, so just letting him know, ‘You’ve just got to control your kids,'” Westbrook added. “For all fans, though, there’s too much leeway for the fans to be able to touch the players and get away with it, and then you can’t react and do the things that we need to do to protect ourselves.”
In last year’s incident involving Westbrook, the fan actually walked on to the court and began yelling at him, so Westbrook shoved him. Security was nowhere in sight when it happened and appeared after the guy had already walked away.
Charles Barkley talked about fans either heckling or touching players back in December, shortly after Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars had a back-and-forth with a NFL heckler. In that same month, the Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin responded to a Minnesota Timberwolves fan who said something that he didn’t like.
“What the f— you say to me?” Griffin asked him.
But even though Barkley admitted that fans are in the wrong when they come too close to players, he said professorial athletes should walk away because they have too much to lose, in terms of being sued or getting in trouble.
The league hasn’t commented on the young fan touching Westbrook yet or his desire to have more done about players being protected, but you can hear him talk about it below.