The Utah Jazz fan permanently banned from Vivint Smart Home Arena following a verbal confrontation with Russell Westbrook during a game there last season is suing the team and the point guard.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, a copy of which was obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, Shane Keisel claims that language he and his girlfriend, Jennifer Huff, used toward Westbrook was "the same kind and caliber as that of the other audience members in the section" -- and not racist and derogatory, as the then-Oklahoma City Thunder star alleged at the time.
Keisel and Huff are seeking $100 million in damages on claims of defamation and emotional distress, per the lawsuit obtained by the Tribune.
The incident in question occurred in March.
After an OKC win, video of Westbrook saying, "I'll f--- you up" to Keisel and Huff while standing near the end of the Thunder bench went viral. Westbrook said it was an emotional reaction to Keisel telling him, "Get on your knees like you're used to," a comment Westbrook considered "completely disrespectful" and "racial."
Keisel claimed at the time that he told Westbrook to "ice those knees up," and in Monday's lawsuit, he reiterated that what he said to Westbrook, now a member of the Rockets, was mischaracterized. He added that his family has been harassed and that he has lost work since the incident.
The Jazz banned Keisel permanently in March. The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 "for directing profanity and threatening language to a fan."
"The organization investigated the underlying incident and acted in an appropriate and responsible manner," Frank Zang, senior vice president of communications for Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, told the Tribune. "We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit."