I have no interest in exploring the genesis of Kevin Durant’s juvenile Twitter feud with annoying actor and comedian Michael Rapaport. Apparently, Rapaport ripped Durant after a TV interview, leading to a months-long insult fest between the two over direct message, which Rapaport leaked this week.
It’s all exhausting, and tempting to just ignore as another fleeting pseudo-controversy — like most celebrity Twitter battles.
But this one is hard to sidestep, because of the vile language Durant used. It was misogynist, threatening and homophobic. He can say he was joking, but that’s the problem. As a supposed ally, he should know that.
“Me and mike talk CRAZIER than this on the regular and today he’s pissed,” Durant tweeted. “My bad mike, damn!!”
He offered another apology Thursday: “I’m sorry that people have seen the language I used,” Durant told reporters. “That’s not what I want people to see or hear from me.”
In other words, he’s sorry he got caught.
Kevin Durant on his social media messages that were recently made public:— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 1, 2021
"I'm sorry that people seen that language I used, that's not really what I want people to hear and see from me" pic.twitter.com/UIPRuPdH3B
Durant has been publicly waving the rainbow flag for years: congratulating Jason Collins; expressing support for the NBA marching in New York City’s LGBTQ Pride parade. But what does he say in private when he’s trying to put somebody down?
“All u do is suck cock.”
Social media feuds are part of Durant’s existence, with the 11-time All-Star firing back at critics and admitting to operating a burner account. This combative online behavior is celebrated in some corners of the media: Complex has compiled a list of Durant’s “most epic Twitter moments.” USA Today has also ranked Durant’s “most ridiculous online feuds.”
Nets coach Steve Nash said the team has addressed the matter internally, without providing more detail. On Friday, the NBA announced it was fining Durant $50,000.
But honestly, I’m not interested in corporate-approved press statements about Durant calling Rapaport a “pasty cum guzzling bitch.” Instead of mandated self-flagellation, I’m interested in Durant working to eradicate these heinous insults from his vocabulary and locker rooms.
Durant’s apparent proclivity for using anti-gay slurs highlights the disconnect between political support for LGBTQ people and actual behavior. He applauds openly gay basketball players on his public Twitter page, while privately deriding someone as a “pale cock sucker.” Casual homophobia is still widely viewed as acceptable “guy talk,” even between a liberal pro basketball star and left-leaning actor.
Homophobic slurs are wrong, whether they’re uttered in front of an audience or sent to a friend over DM. Yes, it was craven for Rapaport to release private exchanges, but that ignores the greater issue. One of the most famous athletes in pro sports was throwing around anti-gay taunts with impunity.
Unless Durant saves his homophobia for Twitter DMs, it’s fair to surmise these disgusting words are part of his vernacular, even though he bills himself as an ally.
Gay athletes stay in the closet because they hear straight athletes use phrases like “cock suckers” and “cum guzzlers.” Durant is contributing to the regressive climate he claims to be fighting against.
This post has been updated.