Russell Westbrook received a technical foul on Wednesday night for hitting a referee with the basketball.
This comes less than one week after Westbrook was ejected from a game and he complained vehemently about not getting the same treatment other players receive.
The latest incident came late in the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornet when the Oklahoma City Thunder called timeout. As Westbrook was moving towards the bench with the ball, he threw it over some other players and hit a referee in the head.
Westbrook immediately threw his arms up and tried to plead that the toss was not intentional.
It would seem that the officials agreed with Westbrook as he only received a technical foul and was not ejected.
Westbrook even went over to the official who was hit to plead his case. It is unclear if Westbrook was just explaining or apologizing, however, the official was seemingly nodding his head in agreement to whatever Westbrook was saying.
However, Jalen Rose of ESPN had a different assessment of the situation, flat-out saying the throw was intentional.
“Did he mean to throw it at the official?” Rose asked his studio co-hosts. “Yes. Did he do it with accuracy? Absolutely, yes. The intent wasn’t to hit him to get suspended or to get ejected. But he didn’t mind hitting him.”
Another former player, ESPN co-host Chauncey Billups, stopped short of saying Westbrook definitely did it on purpose. However, he did strongly suggest that it was on purpose by noting that he had done things similar when he was a player.
“I’m not going to incriminate anybody,” Billups said. “But I have been in that position before, and you get a little mad sometimes when things are not going your way. I have thrown a ball at a referee before … absolutely [on purpose], and I am precision passer too.”
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