Ejected 76ers fan apologizes to Westbrook, says he was provoked
The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder earned a hard fought victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), but the game was marred by controversy due to the actions of one unruly fan.
Richard Harkaway was kicked off the game after publicly flipping off Russell Westbrook with his two middle fingers after the Oklahoma City star was fouled on his way to the basket.
The elderly urologist and part-time comedian lost his court-side seat, at the same time becoming an internet sensation.
Speaking to Sam Wood of Philly.com, Harkaway apologized for his rude behavior, but insisted that the All-Star point guard had provoked him.
“As a part-time comedian I realize that my words and actions are sometimes inappropriate. In this instance, after standing up to boo and being provoked by Russell Westbrook calling attention to my being overweight, my action in response was clearly inexcusable and I am embarrassed,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
“I sincerely apologize to my fellow Sixers fans, the Sixers organization, my colleagues and patients, and to Mr. Westbrook for my behavior.”
The Philadelphia native also took to Facebook to air his side of the story, via Complex.com.
“To all my FB friends who are seeing a picture of me on the internet giving the finger to Russell Westbrook. Actually two fingers,” he wrote. “Not as simple as it seems. I love to scream at the players and anyone who has been to a game with me knows this. Part of my charm. What you may not have seen on any of the video clips is what started the whole thing, which was Russell Westbrook saying, ‘sit down (expletive) fat boy,’ when I stood up to boo. I am sometimes sensitive about my plumpness. I guess I got a little out of hand.”
Westbrook, meanwhile, took the high road when asked by reporters about the incident following his team’s 103-97 victory. The high-flying guard said he has “turned a new leaf” and didn’t want to find himself in another altercation with another fan—considering he faced multiple fines in the past.
A video of Harkaway being escorted by security is available below. Khristian Ibarrola
— T to the P to the G (@TDeer21) October 27, 2016