In perhaps the most unusual story of the NBA season, a video recorded by Los Angeles Lakers point D’Angelo Russell surfaced on Wednesday showing teammate Nick Young admitting he cheated on fiancée Iggy Azalea.
Immediately the story blew up in the media, focusing almost entirely on the trust issues between Russell and his teammates, and very little on the relationship between Swaggy P and Iggy (thankfully). Perhaps that’s due to Azalea extinguishing the situation with a cryptic tweet shortly after the video surfaced.
hmmm i see D Angelo Russell is trending… I actually liked his film. Thanks bro.
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) March 30, 2016
What followed was a nationwide discussion about the Lakers and Russell, asking questions such as:
- “Are the Lakers screwed?”
- “Will this tarnish Russell’s reputation?”
- “How will his teammates ever trust him again?”
- “Should the Lakers trade Russell?”
- “Should [insert favorite team] trade for him?”
- “Oh my god, they totally should!”
- “Oh wait, nevermind. It might be bad in the locker room.”
- “Are the Lakers screwed?”
[repeat the process]
It took a few hours, but Russell eventually issued an apology (about 20 different times).
“I am sick,” Russell said, via Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. “I am sorry about recording the video. I can’t repeat myself enough on that: I am sorry I recorded that video. I feel horrible. I wish this never happened.”
Russell explained how things got out of hand, adding that it was never his intention to hurt his teammate’s relationship.
“The thing is, we record ourselves doing dumb stuff all the time. On the road or home, wherever. We go back and watch what we did and said and laugh at ourselves. I guess I just never thought that these pranks we pull on ourselves could have bigger consequences. That was a big lesson I learned.
I’ve said to myself over and over: What could anyone possibly gain by intentionally doing something that could hurt someone else’s relationship? I never wanted to hurt anyone. I’m sorry for it.”
It will take a lot for Russell to repair his relationships with his teammates (or just Young), but it’s something he’s prepared to do, saying he’s willing to do “whatever it takes.”
The one thing I’ve learned about the sports media over the last couple of years is they (or we) have an incredible short-term memory, but a terrible long-term memory. And while right now every talking head is saying Russell caused “irreparable damage,” all it will take is another major news story, another scandal to shift the focus off Russell. If that doesn’t work, time will do the same thing.
So to those panicking about this unusual situation in the Lakers locker room, please just relax. In a week you’ll be talking about something else and playing Russell Vines on your cell phone.