If any basketball fans have uneaten snacks they don't want, Russell Westbrook would clearly prefer they deposit the food in the trash rather than tossing it at him.
The 32-year-old NBA superstar injured his ankle during the fourth quarter of a playoff matchup between his Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, May 26. As he was walking off the court toward the locker room at Philly's Wells Fargo Center, a 76ers fan dumped popcorn on the player.
Video of the incident shows that the nine-time All-Star was irate about the fan's action and had to be restrained by multiple members of the Wizards' staff and security team. Security ejected the fan moments later, according to ESPN.
"To be completely honest, this s--t is getting out of hand, especially for me," Russ told press after the game. "The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f--k they want to do—it's just out of pocket."
The athlete continued, "There are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting ... a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, you know what happens. In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players. We'll see what the NBA does."
In a statement shared to Twitter following the incident, Wells Fargo Center president of business operations Valerie Camillo condemned the fan's behavior.
"This was classless, unacceptable behavior, and we're not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center," the statement read. "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 76ers won the game 120 to 95, taking a commanding 2 to 0 lead in the playoff series.
Among the players reacting to the brouhaha was LeBron James, who tweeted, "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 emoji] was on the other [foot emoji] #ProtectOurPlayers."
The NBA also issued a statement following the incident. "The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans," the statement, released on May 27, read. "An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."
This is not the first incident involving unruly Philadelphia sports fans over the years. According to sports legend, and as seen in archival footage, Philadelphia Eagles supporters infamously booed a man dressed as Santa Claus in the 1960s and pelted him with snowballs.
Footage of Russell's incident can be seen in the above tweet.