Rookie D’Angelo Russell deserves the silent treatment, but what about the man whose actions created the mess?
So, let me see if I can get his straight.
The Los Angeles Lakers, one of pro sports most historic franchises, have faded in recent years from NBA juggernaut to NBA laughingstock to Barnum & Baily Circus act.
And now it’s worse.
The mighty Lakers are a bona fide middle school team. A bad one, at that.
The Lakers have ostracized, unfriended and isolated talented rookie D’Angelo Russell. Why? He broke the Bro Code.
There seems little doubt about that. Russell videotaped teammate Nick Young, assumedly without Young’s knowledge, confessing his involvement with other women even though he’s engaged to singer Iggy Azalea.
What happened from there is unknown. Did Russell share the video virally to embarrass his teammate?
Did he think it was just a funny prank and shared it with someone else, who then shared it with the world – without Russell’s knowledge?
Whatever the cause, the Lakers now won’t place nice with their rookie teammate.
They won’t pass him the ball. They won’t share a meal. They won’t talk to him, on or off the court, according to multiple reports.
Meanwhile, coach Byron Scott – obviously anxious to get the season over with – hasn’t talked to Russell about what caused the team-wide discord.
Can you imagine Gregg Popovich letting the issue with the Spurs go and fester? For that matter, can you even imagine a middle school coach not trying to get to the bottom of the issue?
Obviously, Russell deserves criticism. He took a private moment and whether it was intended to embarrass Young or not allowed it to become very public.
That’s a middle school prank. You don’t do things like that in the real world. At least not in mine.
Amid all the rising scrutiny, Russell apologized before last night’s game. “I feel as sick as possible,” Russell said. “I wish I could make things better right away, but I can’t.”
Now, the rookie is being held accountable, as he should.
But what about the veteran, Young? Yes, power tends to make people look the other way, and pro athletes who are millionaires wield much power. That doesn’t change the fact that Young was busted by his own confession. While teammates shouldn’t like the way Russell allowed it to become public, why aren’t they treating Nick Young with the same anger?
Young also briefly addressed the issue with the media before Wednesday’s Heat game. “It’s best if me and D’Angelo handle the situation we have in a private matter outside the media.”
And where is Kobe Bryant, the most veteran Laker of all, in between of accepting farewell gifts at one arena after another?
Even a middle school team would handle this with more maturity than the Lakers.
Editor’s note: Morning Ticker welcomes Doug Segrest as a new Featured Author. Segrest is a veteran sports writer who primarily covered college sports and professional baseball at The Nashville Banner and The Birmingham News, where he was named Tennessee and Alabama Sports Writer of the Year. He’s also the co-host of the highly rated “The Zone” talk show.