Kevin Durant has caught a lot of heat for the last 24 hours after comedian and former Barstool Sports employee Michael Rapaport revealed direct messages he received from the Brooklyn Nets superstar that were full of vitriol and homophobic slurs. Durant is notably online even for this generation of basketball players and has gotten himself into trouble before for his Twitter escapades, but this particular situation took it to another level. Rapaport apparently was of the same mindset; the catalyst for revealing said messages came when Durant mentioned Rapaport's wife.
Naturally, the conflict is the central topic of discussion on every studio show taking place this morning. It was no different for Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe. Bayless talked to Rapaport last night and got his side of the story:
Basically, Rapaport thought he had a friendly rapport with Durant. Then he tweeted out that Durant seemed "deeply in his feelings" after the Charles Barkley interview in question and Durant turned the dial up far more than was necessary. After Durant mentioned Rapaport's wife, he felt the only way to put a stop to everything was to go public with it all.
Rapaport did not immediately attempt to de-escalate, as Bayless seems to imply here. He sent Durant a picture of the superstar's quote about Barkley, when Durant said "I don't know why they still ask for this idiot's opinion." The caption of that picture was "If anyone called @easymoneysniper (Durant's Instagram name) an idiot, he would literally cry on TV." Rapaport cropped the picture so it's unclear if there was any context to why he was sending Durant that, but regardless, the content itself is what set Durant off. That is the point where Durant said he wanted to spit on Rapaport and demanded to fight.
After that is when Rapaport went the de-escalation route and told Durant to go help the kids in Brooklyn. It didn't work. Durant continued with his onslaught of insults and Rapaport eventually had enough. It appeared that Durant, similar to Rapaport, thought everything was buddy-buddy between the two and was unaware he had crossed a line, leading to his rather weak and not particularly sincere apology.
The ripple effects of this debacle are only just beginning. There's a big difference between talking trash and using homophobic slurs, as Durant should have known. He's paying the price now, and I doubt this is going away anytime soon.