By now, you likely know that Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell is in major hot water for recording a video of teammate Nick Young. In the grainy video, which somehow made its way on to the Internet, Young essentially admits to having cheated on fiancée Iggy Azalea. The resulting backfire against Russell has been a storm in and of itself.
Speaking to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Russell has publicly issued his apology:
“I am sick,” Russell told The Vertical by phone on his drive to the Staples Center on Wednesday. “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.”
When asked about how the video left his possession and became public months after it was recorded, Russell told The Vertical: “Honestly, I have no idea. Me and Nick, that’s our friendship: We play around a lot. Anyone who knows him and knows me, they know that about us. But I apologize for recording that video. I never intentionally wanted to hurt anyone. I never wanted what was said in there to get out. It was my fault that it did, but that was never intentional.
In a short meeting with press before the Lakers’ game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Russell clarified his recording of the conversation wasn’t a prank. He somberly acknowledged how the incident was affecting Young’s personal life, too.
As for Young, his response was more tight-lipped and there’s no indication he’s accepted Russell’s apology.
Apology accepted or otherwise, Young was quite downtrodden while giving his brief statement to the media.
Nick Young speaks to media re: developing situation with D’Angelo Russell pic.twitter.com/EBR3N1lhPt
— Roban Perezanovic (@World_Wide_Wob) March 31, 2016
On that note, the overall fallout of the video is about what you would expect. Russell made a dumb, immature decision — and so did Young; let’s not forget about that — to record the conversation, but his teammates reportedly aren’t being so forgiving. A report from ESPN stated that Lakers players are “isolating” Russell. Trust isn’t exactly at record high levels when you’re 15-59, but an incident like this really can tear a locker room apart.
There are many takeaways from this situation, but a main point is that it’s easy to forget Russell was 19 when he recorded the video. That’s the same 19-year-old that has to be a professional and grown up. That’s not to show empathy toward Russell, but it is a noteworthy juxtaposition. Judging by his response to Woj, it’s completely understandable that Russell didn’t realize there would be major consequences for his actions.
Regardless, the Lakers have to find a way to finish out the season the best way they know how. That means Russell and Young will have to play together despite any personal animosity. Judging by Young’s response, or lack thereof, the reported discord is real.
After all, the final days of the 2015-16 were supposed to be about Kobe Bryant. They still will be, but this type of story only adds another layer to an overall flustering year for the Lakers.