Yet again, the NBA proved its primary goal of existence is money. There’s no other way to describe the lack of consequences for Kevin Durant after his DM’s to Michael Rappaport became public. In those, Durant goes on a tirade that includes threatening language and anti-gay and misogynistic slurs. To remind you, back in 2009, Kobe Bryant was fined $100.000 for shouting a homophobic slur at referee Bennie Adams during a game against the Spurs back in 2011. But that was the David Stern era.
Durant himself gave a non-apology that members of Congress wouldn’t be ashamed of. When asked about the exchange that became public, KD didn’t apologize for what he did and demonstrate he understands why it’s problematic. The only thing he expressed remorse over is the fact he got caught.
“I’m sorry that people seen that language I used. That’s not really what I want people to see and hear from me, but hopefully, I can move past it and get back out there on the floor.”Kevin Durant, ESPN
Actions speak louder than words, and the NBA’s inconsistency in penalizing players/coaches depending on their stature is a problem. If Donovan Mitchell was fined $25,000 for ‘public criticism of the officiating and his conduct while exiting the playing court,’ Meyers Leonard was fined $50.000 and suspended from team activities for using an Anti-Semitic slur while playing a video game, how come Kevin Durant gets away with an “I’m sorry I got caught”?
This is a problem the NBA will get into every time a superstar does something a rotation player did in the past and was fined for. According to their reaction, anti-gay and misogynistic slurs are less of a problem than calling out refs and much less of a problem than using Anti-Semitic slurs. Meyers Leonard apologized, met with Jewish leaders and organizations to learn and better himself, and still got kicked out of the league (at least for this season.) I’m not saying KD should be banned for life or anything, but this is yet another moment in which Adam Silver has failed to enforce the rules on important players.
If you’re going to fine and suspend players for what they say when doing stuff that has no connection to the league – whether it’s a Twitch stream or private DM’s on Instagram – then you have to do it consistently. Apart from the obvious moral issues this presents, it will come back to bite the NBA and its commissioner in the ass. The only thing Adam Silver has been consistent about when it comes to superstars is the double standards and lack of consequences they face.
All KD is hoping for is to “move past it.” Admitting his mistake, explaining why it was wrong, and suffering some consequences should be a part of “moving past it.” By not making Durant do any of that, he and other superstars are getting the message loud and clear – “It’s all about you and whatever feels right.”