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Lawyers for Rockets’ Russell Westbrook, Jazz file separate responses to lawsuit

Last March, Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook — then with the Oklahoma City Thunder — got into a shouting match with a spectator in the front row of a Utah Jazz game. Westbrook claimed after the game that the heckler, Shane Keisel’s remarks were derogatory and racially motivated.

Westbrook claimed that Kiesel told him “to get down on your knees like you used to.” Kiesel claimed that it was Westbrook that was out of line, but nonetheless, he was banned for life by the Jazz organization.

Months later, Kiesel would sue both the Jazz and Westbrook for $100 million, claiming that he was wrongly accused of making racist remarks and that his heckling was the same kind as other fans in the crowd.

In a response to Kiesel’s lawsuit, the Rockets superstar and the Jazz have filed separate responses, per Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Both parties have denied the accuser’s claims and the Jazz maintained that their investigation of the incident was thorough.

“Mr. Keisel admitted making certain statements that could be understood as racist and/or racially motivated,” the Jazz’s response notes.

Both parties are also asking for attorney fees in compensation for the lawsuit.

After spending his first 11 seasons in Oklahoma City, the 2017 NBA MVP was traded to Houston in a deal that sent fellow point guard Chris Paul and multiple first-round picks to the Thunder.

In his first season with the Rockets, Russell Westbrook has put up 26.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 23.4 percent from beyond the arc. The 31-year-old guard has teamed up his former teammate in James Harden and has led Houston to 29-17 record so far.