Nets star Kevin Durant has seemed to stand with teammate and friend Kyrie Irving throughout Irving's polarizing moments in recent seasons, and he did so again on Friday -- before issuing a clarification.
Asked by reporters about Irving's suspension for promoting an anti-Semitic documentary, Durant initially declined to "judge anyone" and said he wished the Nets had "kept quiet" about the episode.
After swift backlash on social media, Durant took to Twitter to say he doesn't "condone hate speech or anti-Semitism."
Durant's initial response was in keeping with previous comments on the situation.
On Saturday, Durant said Irving's controversial social media post and subsequent refusal to apologize weren't a distraction for Nets players, and that it only impacted the media and "everybody outside the locker room:"
While Durant's clarification was certainly welcomed, for some journalists and fans the damage was already done.
For Durant, it seems his loyalty to Irving is once again becoming a liability.
Last season, Durant declined to criticize or publicly call out Irving over his refusal to get vaccinated, which made him ineligible to play in Nets home games. Team brass then decided against allowing Irving to play in road games so as to avoid a potentially awkward situation.
Then, when Nets GM Sean Marks called for greater accountability from the team's stars at season's end -- a comment presumably aimed specifically at Irving -- Durant reportedly bristled at the implication and demanded a trade.