Warriors head coach Steve Kerr empathizes with the abuse Russell Westbrook received from a Jazz fan in Utah on Monday night. He’s actually been there before, before his 15-year NBA career began.
“I don’t think anything’s changed. I think every once in a while you get a horrible incident with a fan like last night. It happened to me in college actually,” Kerr said Tuesday night to reporters in Houston. “It never happened after that.”
Kerr endured taunts in college after perhaps the worst moment of his life. When he was a senior point guard at the University of Arizona in 1988, Arizona State University students heckled him about his father’s assassination, which occurred four years before the game.
Fast forward 31 years later, and Kerr knows why Westbrook was visibly upset as shouted profanities at a fan after Shane Keisel Keisel and his wife allegedly told the Thunder guard to “to get down on my knees like you used to.” The same fan has a history of racist tweets, including one where he told Westbrook to “go back where he came from.”
“Every once in a while you just get some idiot fan who says something stupid, and then you have to take care of that,” Kerr said.
The Jazz have banned Keisel from the arena, and Utah star Donovan Mitchell was outspoken about past incidents and called for fans to be better. Kerr applauded the team’s handling of the situation and Mitchell for speaking out.
“I applaud the Jazz and Donovan Mitchell for handling things the way they did,” Kerr said. “That guy should not go to an NBA game ever again.”
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While Monday’s incident was an ugly scene, Kerr does believe this was mostly an isolated event.
“The vast majority of fans go to games and are very respectful,” Kerr said. “Almost every single one. We’re not gonna spend a whole lot of time because one idiot decided to be stupid.”