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Kevin Durant blasts Nets for handling of Kyrie Irving mess

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WASHINGTON – In the wake of Kyrie’s Irving’s suspension, Kevin Durant didn’t rebuke his fellow Nets star’s actions over the past week as much as rue the attention paid to it and the distractions it’s caused.

Irving’s promotion of a film with anti-Semitic tropes – and steadfast refusal to apologize for an entire week – finally got him suspended for five games by Brooklyn. For the single-minded Durant, who just cares about playing, it’s hard to tell if he felt it was brought on by Irving’s stubbornness, or the microscope of the media.

Either way, he seemed tired of the entire unneeded situation.

“It’s an unfortunate situation for people that are impacted by this situation. It just sucks all around for everybody. Hopefully we can move past it,” said Durant. “That’s just the way of the NBA now. Media, so many outlets now and their stories hit pretty fast now. That’s where all the chaos is coming from, from everybody’s opinions. Everybody has an opinion on this situation and we’re hearing it nonstop.

“But once the balls start bouncing and we get into practice none of that stuff seeps into the gym. So that’s the cool part about being in the league. But once you step off the court, everyone got the microphones out and the microscopes looking at you asking you what you feel about it. That’s been difficult. But the game is the constant for us.”

Kevin Durant said Friday he wished the Nets had ‘kept quiet as an organization.’
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST Photo

It should be noted that Durant is an obsessed gymrat, known for his obsessive focus on the game. He may well see all of this as taking away from the Nets’ pursuit of a title. And after his initial comments at Friday morning’s shootaround caused a stir on social media, Durant took to Twitter to underscore that he’s not supporting anti-Semitism, just promoting basketball.

“Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused,” Durant tweeted. “I don’t condone hate speech or anti-semetism, I’m about spreading love always. Our game Unites [sic] people and I wanna make sure that’s at the forefront.”

When asked if the suspension – which could go more than five games – was fair and just, Durant said he believes and trusts in the organization “to do what’s right.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks on in the second half against the Indiana P
Kyrie Irving was suspended on Thursday, days after igniting a firestorm around the Nets.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST Photo

For now, with Irving barred and Ben Simmons hurt, Durant is once again the only one of Brooklyn’s Big Three still standing. In that, it’s similar to last season when Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated led him to miss two-thirds of the season, contributed to James Harden’s trade demand and forced Durant to carry the load.

In morning shootaround before the Nets’ road game at the Washington Wizards, Durant was asked how he thought Irving comported himself this week, when he had two testy exchanges with media and refused to show remorse until after being suspended.

“I ain’t hear to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their views or anything, it’s just…I just didn’t like anything that went on. I feel like it was all unnecessary,” said Durant. “I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organization. I just don’t like none of it.”

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