NBA fines star for his “offensive” tirade that included anti-LGBTQ remarks toward actor

Kevin Durant speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 at Pier 48 on September 19, 2017.
Kevin Durant speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 at Pier 48 on September 19, 2017. Photo: TechCrunch

Two-time NBA champion and current Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has been fined the largest amount permissible by the NBA for his direct messages to actor and comedian Michael Rapaport.

He used derogatory remarks — criticized as homophobic by some and acknowledged as “inappropriate” by Durant — toward Rapaport, after the two went back and forth over an interview Durant conducted with, among others, former NBA player and current analyst Charles Barkley.

Related: Charles Barkley was ready to quit the All-Star Game over an anti-LGBTQ law

The 32 year old, now in his fourteenth season in the NBA, has been sidelined with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis just weeks after returning from a series of lower leg injuries that kept him out the majority of two years. Just after being cleared to return to the court, though, Durant was instead addressing his interaction in his direct messages.

On March 30, Rapaport had screenshot and posted exchanges he had with Durant from Instagram. “I receive threats and disgusting messages DAILY,” the 51 year-old stated in a tweet, “but never in my wildest dreams did I think [Durant] would be among them.”

Claiming that Durant was “now threatening me,” he asked, “this is supposed to be America’s sweetheart, right?”

The remarks went viral and the NBA took action, issuing a fine less than three days after the exchange were published. Durant then issued an apology to the public for seeing the posts, although he didn’t apologize for the language he used, just that it was “seen.”

According to the New York Post tabloid, the issue stems from Durant’s interview with the “NBA on TNT” crew in October, after the team’s opening night game against his former team, the Golden State Warriors.

Durant seemed agitated and, according to Rapaport, “deeply in his feelings” throughout the interview, which led the actor to publicly complain about the star athlete’s behavior.

“DAMNIT he’s super sensitive about everything. Don’t do the interview,” he remarked in a tweet.

Durant then messaged Rapaport privately on Instagram, shooting back, “U a b*tch.”

“I did the interview you d*ckhead. Tell your baby daddy Chuck to be better at his job,” he said, referring to Barkley, a member of the “NBA on TNT” crew.

Durant then continued to go back-and-forth with Rapaport, resulting in him attempting to disparage the long-time comic.

“I heard it all before u c*nt. Chuck doesn’t need u as security u pale pasty c*m guzzling b*tch… I swear ima spit in your face when I see your d*rty ass,” he remarked. “Bet your life on it.”

He then even offered to meet Rapaport tomorrow in person, offering a meeting place and then instead asking for Rapaport’s address. When he doesn’t answer his continual messages, he sends another one calling the actor “p*ssy.”

“Go help the kids in BROWNSVILLE,BROOKLYN & stop being a f*cking puzz,” Rapaport later replied.

“You a b*tch for even caring how I do an interview,” Durant shot back. “All u do is c*ck suck other men for attention. Trump didn’t pay attention to your sorry ass so now u wanna use everybody else to get views and laughs.”

“Your life is a joke u F*ckin pale c*ck sucker,” he continued. “Go get some sun, it’s f*ckin with your brain… piece of sh*t.”

“Suck a d*ck,” he later added.

After Rapaport shared the exchanges, Durant shrugged them off, remarking that “me and mike talk CRAZIER than this on the regular and today he’s pissed.”

In a tweet, he said, “My bad mike, damn!!”

Rapaport responded, “No we don’t.”

The NBA announced a $50,000 fine levied against Durant on April 2, reportedly the most allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

“I’m sorry that people seen that language I used,” he said. “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.”

Nets head coach Steve Nash reported that he spoke to Durant after learning of the exchange. The team, though, refused to publicly comment on the matter after the fine. The NBA referred to Durant’s language as “offensive and derogatory” while issuing the fine.

“Durant has acknowledged that his comments were inappropriate,” the league’s statement read.

Sports commentators, however, are pushing for an even further punishment, with right-wing sports writer Clay Travis comparing Durant’s words to the racist remarks of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, which led to him being essentially pushed out of the league.

“The same standard should apply,” he complained.

Barstool Sports, who Rapaport sued unsuccessfully for defamation of character recently, instead cheered Durant for “destroying a man’s soul via social meida.”

Rapaport, meanwhile, has continued to share private messages he received from Durant over the last few days. Known for his abrasive social media commentary just as much for his roles in films such as BamboozledDr. Doolittle 2, and Poetic Justice, Rapaport has also expressed criticism of the fine.

“A long time ago we used to be friends, but your insecurities ruined it all,” Rapaport said of Durant later while posting a compilation of the two interacting on and off the basketball court.

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