Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets have been so dysfunctional recently that they make the Jets and the Knicks look like model franchises. After Kyrie Irving was finally suspended, he finally apologized for promoting (a term that Irving disputes) an antisemitic film.

During Friday’s shootaround, Kevin Durant talked about what all that has happened and held off publicly criticizing Irving while pointing out that the story has gotten as big as it has because of the current speed and size of the media.

The video certainly isn’t as bad as the main quotes coming out of that but at the same time it’s fair to highlight those quotes because it still wasn’t great to say. It seemed like Durant tried to ‘both sides’ the situation and didn’t want to publicly criticize his teammate but that can be a problem in and of itself when that teammate is being antisemitic.

Durant took to Twitter to clarify his comments saying, “Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused..I don’t condone hate speech or anti-semetism, I’m about spreading love always. Our game Unites people and I wanna make sure that’s at the forefront”

In a way, Durant isn’t wrong. Of course it would be great to focus on playing basketball. Personally, I would rather write about basketball than Kyrie’s antisemitism and I’m sure fans would rather focus on watching basketball too. So by that logic, Durant is just saying what everybody wants. It’s just that Irving’s antisemitism is worth reporting and talking about because he’s influential and has a large platform. Case in point, the book that movie is based off of became an Amazon bestseller thanks to Irving whether he believes he promoted the movie or not. And when combined with Kanye West’s antisemitism, it has sparked a recent rise in public hate crimes against Jewish people. Regardless of what they intended, the consequences of Kyrie’s and Kanye’s actions cannot be ignored in all this.

Where Durant is wrong is that while the media is vast and fast and “everybody has an opinion” these days, he can say similar things about his teammate. This isn’t the first time Irving did something that caused backlash and it required his teammates to clean up the mess. And sure, if this happened 40 years ago, there wouldn’t be as much of a direct backlash thanks to modern technology and social media. But if it was 40 years ago and Irving promoted this film during an interview or press conference, it would create a different, but similar, form of backlash and his teammates would still have deal with this.

There’s no way Durant can have a discussion with every single person in the media but he can have a conversation with Irving. And if Irving’s actions are causing hardship to his teammates, maybe that’s something that needs to be shared with him. Then maybe Durant can actually focus on playing basketball instead of talking to reporters about Kyrie’s latest controversy.

[Chase Hughes/Brian Lewis/Kevin Durant]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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