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The video seen ’round the world

Sports writer Patrick Pace. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie
Sports writer Patrick Pace. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie

I feel bad for D’Angelo Russell.

Imagine being a star basketball player all throughout your life. You go to one of the most established high schools in the country for basketball and lead your team to a national title. You commit to Ohio State and immediately become a star there too. You decide to declare for the draft after your first year of college and are picked by the Los Angeles Lakers, who think you will be their next franchise player. This sounds like a dream come true, right?

This dream has turned into a nightmare. The Lakers are currently 16-62, which is the second worst record in the league and the worst record in the history of the team. Their longtime star, Kobe Bryant, has decided to retire after this year, and Russell’s first season with the team has turned into a retirement tour for him. Head coach Byron Scott has changed the lineup numerous times, and in some games Russell has barely played. He has been largely inconsistent, scoring 39 points in one game and seven a couple games later.

However, the worst part of this nightmare happened just a week ago. Russell took a video of his teammate Nick Young admitting to cheating on his longtime fiancee, hip-hop star Iggy Azalea. The video was supposed to be private, but somehow was leaked for the world to see.

Russell and Young seemed to be very good friends before this incident. You would see Russell on Young’s Instagram all the time. They hung out after games, and Russell even attended Young’s son’s birthday party a couple days before the video came out. However, since the release of the clip, it seems that Russell’s relationship with Young, as well as the rest of the team, has soured.

Not only will Young not accept his apology, apparently on the Monday after the video came out no one would sit at Russell’s table during the team breakfast. Lou Williams, one of the guards on the team, even isolated him in the locker room. The most notable indication that relations were not at their best was when second-year forward Julius Randle scored a game-winning shot against the Heat, he chest-bumped guard Jordan Clarkson but largely ignored Russell’s attempt to congratulate him. The Lakers fans even booed Russell after the video came out.

Russell does not deserve to be treated this way. It is widely known the video leak was an accident. It seems as if he has been a good teammate and a good friend to the other players on the Lakers. He is young and is going to make mistakes. He needs the support of the team if he is going to blossom into the player the world expects him to be one day.

However, Young should be ashamed of himself. It’s not a secret that a great deal of professional athletes cheat on their spouses, and by no means is that acceptable. But to cheat on your fiancee and admit it on camera? That’s just downright dumb. There is always a possibility of your video leaking in today’s technology-fueled society. Young is 30 years old, he should know to keep his private business away from any cameras.

Russell has a bright future, and the Lakers are in dire need of promising players. If Young and Russell cannot fix their issues someone’s going to need to leave, and it shouldn’t be the rookie.

Patrick Pace can be reached at [email protected] or @PatPaceSports on Twitter.

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