Washington Wizards superstar Russell Westbrook needed to be restrained after a fan dumped popcorn on his head as he left the floor with an injured ankle during Wednesday night’s game in Philadelphia.
Westbrook exited the game in the fourth quarter after stepping on the foot of 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz and rolling his ankle. Popcorn was dumped on Westbrook’s head as he went through the tunnel and he had to be restrained by team and Wells Fargo Center security.
“I wouldn’t come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens,” Westbrook said after the game. “In these arenas, you gotta start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does.”
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“For me, there are a lot of incidents where fans, they say whatever, and the consequences for me are a lot more instrumental than to the fans in the stands because they feel they are untouchable,” Westbrook added.
“Obviously I have learned to look the other way. But to a certain extent, you can’t just keep looking the other way. There has to be some penalties or something to put in place where fans just can’t come to the games and do and say as they please.”
The Sixers responded with a statement after the game.
Wells Fargo Center statement on fan behavior at tonight’s Philadelphia 76ers game. pic.twitter.com/4GgNqYcdFp
“This was classless, unacceptable behaviour, and we’re not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center,” read the statement from Sixers president of business operations Valerie Camillo.
“We’re proud to have the most passionate fans in the country… but this type of behaviour has no place in our arena.”
A fan seated near the tunnel was escorted out by security following the incident.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said he was unaware of the commotion, but that “if it did happen, hopefully the kid or the person is banned from the league”.
Brooks also added that “Philadelphia is better than that”.
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 👟 was on the other 🦶🏾.🎥 #ProtectOurPlayers
The incident prompted a tweet from LeBron James. “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].”
Ja Morant, who scored a career-high 47 points as the Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Utah Jazz, also called for more protection to be given to players on Twitter.
The Wizards fell 120-95 to the Sixers in the game to go down 2-0 in the series.
Westbrook scored 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting with 11 assists in 29 minutes.
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