Timberwolves Anthony Edwards faces fine and backlash for slurs

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA is not a professional sports organization that looks the other way when star players use offensive and derogatory language, particularly when one of its players is foolish enough to post the event on Instagram. Well, live and learn, as that lesson just cost Minnesota Timberwolves star shooting guard Anthony Edwards a cool $40,000 fine.

And it could have been more.

Okay, $40,000 is not pocket change. So what exactly did he do? Well, on September 10, 2022, Anthony Edwards posted an offensive video where he is heard in the background using derogatory language when observing a group from his car:

His Instagram post was immediately set upon with pushback. Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve instantly condemned the post and asserted that Edwards’ post puts people in unnecessary danger.

Of course, in the face of intense pushback on social media, Edwards apologized for his actions and words. The apology was thorough and was reported throughout NBA media and social media.

But, in the mind of many, the damage was done, and the subsequent apology was not well received. In their minds, the apology was about getting caught, not about what he said or did.

The matter is not going to just go away now that the NBA has fined him. But NBA All-Time great Kareem Abdul Jabar is speaking out now. On his substack website, Kareem chastises Edwards:

Yup, you should be ashamed.”

He goes on to compare his actions to that of Kevin Durant a year ago and cites how both the player and the Minnesota Timberwolves have subsequently issued statements of apology. But, Kareem Abdul Jabar urges more from Anthony Edwards:

"‘But more important, it perpetuates prejudice against a group and that prejudice often leads to restricting rights and to violence. I don’t think an apology—however heartfelt—is enough. Edwards needs to repair the damage with some voluntary community service with LGBTQ+ organizations, particularly youth groups, to show his support. If he can’t do that much to undo the harm he’s caused, then his apology is meaningless.’ – Kareem Abdul Jabar per his substack website"

In the end, the NBA owes it to its worldwide fanbase to require more. Some are already defending the matter as a simple immature act of a 21-year-old with money and trying to impress his companion.  Well, before social media and the internet, that may have been true.

But we’re in a new era now. The internet is forever. Even as Anthony Edwards has since removed the offensive Instagram post, it is continuing to perpetuate. Homophobic slurs do not just get forgotten when they are posted online. These were not private words that remained between him and one other person. They were and are now circling the planet, inflicting hurt and reinforcing the type of prejudices that we are trying to abolish.

It’s not enough to say ‘I’m sorry,’ for throwing eggs at a house as a childish prank over Halloween. It’s not enough to say ‘I’m sorry,’ after an automobile accident. True remorse requires making things right.  What that means now for Anthony Edwards is up to him to figure out.

But, I’m with Kareem Abdul Jabar on this one. ‘I’m sorry,’ whether sincere or insincere, is not going to cut it.

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