NBA star Russell Westbrook had a rough night on Wednesday — his team lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 120-95, he suffered an ankle injury during the fourth quarter and a fan dumped popcorn on his head.
In a clip of the encounter, popcorn rained down from the bleachers as Westbrook walked through the tunnel to the locker room. The athlete becomes irate and has to be held back by security guards nearby as he lashes out.
Westbrook spoke to reporters after the game, warning the fan who assaulted him. “I wouldn’t come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens,” he said, according to ESPN.
He then slammed the NBA, saying they need to hold fans accountable for their actions and look after the athletes. “In these arena, you gotta start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does,” he added.
The Wells Fargo Center’s president of operations, Valeria Camillo, condemned the fans behavior, calling it “classless” in a statement released Wednesday night.
“This was unacceptable behavior, and we’re not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center,” she said. “We’re proud to have the most passionate fans in the country and the best home-court and home-ice advantage around, but this type of behavior has no place in our arena.”
The disgruntled fan was reportedly removed from the arena following the incident, but fellow athletes are hoping the league does more to ensure their safety.
NBA legend LeBron James expressed his support for Westbrook after the incident, and called on the league to show them the fan who poured the popcorn on the athlete.
“By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the [shoe] was on the other [foot]. #ProtectOurPlayers.”