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Durant says Nets ‘could have kept quiet’ about Irving, tumult

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WASHINGTON — Kevin Durant said Friday the Brooklyn Nets could have handled this tumultuous week a bit differently — a week in which his coach was fired and teammate Kyrie Irving was suspended for posting a link to an antisemitic work.

Then Durant clarified on Twitter that he doesn’t condone hate speech and “is about spreading love always.”

Durant spoke Friday at the Nets’ shootaround in Washington ahead of the evening’s game against the Wizards. When asked what he thought of Irving’s recent conduct, which landed the guard a suspension of at least five games, Durant said: “I ain’t here to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their views or anything. I just didn’t like anything that went on.

“I felt like it was all unnecessary. I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organization.”

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Within an hour, Durant followed up via a tweet.

“Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused,” he said. “I don’t condone hate speech or anti-semetism (sic), I’m about spreading love always. Our game Unites people and I wanna make sure that’s at the forefront.”

‘I believe in trusting an organization to do what’s right’: Durant weighs in on Kyrie suspension

Irving did apologize in an Instagram post for not explaining the specific beliefs he agreed and disagreed with when he posted about the documentary.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said Friday that the team has had some dialogue with Irving, but not enough given the circumstances.

“The organization has made multiple attempts to get with Kyrie and his representation and to have them clarify his feelings and put out a sense of remorse for this, and that obviously didn’t happen, and he refused to disavow that until his tweet last night,” Marks said.

Marks said Irving’s apology was a step, but actions will speak louder than words. He also said the team is not considering releasing Irving at this time.

“There is going to be some remedial steps and measures that have been put in place for him to obviously seek some counseling … from dealing with some anti-hate and some Jewish leaders within our community,” Marks said. “He’s going to have to sit down with them, he’s going to have to sit down with the organization after this, and we’ll evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”

Irving’s reluctance to apologize came hours before the FBI said it had received credible information about a “broad” threat to synagogues in New Jersey, Irving’s home state.

In Florida on Saturday, the phrase “Kanye is right about the jews” was projected on the outside of one of the end zones at the TIAA Bank Field stadium in Jacksonville during the Florida-Georgia football game — a reference to recent antisemitic comments that the music mogul formerly known as Kanye West has made on social media and in interviews. The incidents come four years after the deadliest attack on American Jews, when 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Nets also parted ways with coach Steve Nash this week and despite the star tandem of Durant and Irving, the team has a 2-6 record. Durant said the team has the ability to tune out all the turbulence.

“It’s just the way of the NBA now. So many outlets now and their stories hit pretty fast now. That’s where all the chaos is coming from,” he said. “Everybody’s opinions, everybody has an opinion on the situation, we’re hearing it nonstop, but once the ball starts bouncing and we get into practice, none of that stuff really seeps into the gym.”

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Canada coach Herdman disputes Croatian counterpart’s handshake take – Sportsnet.ca

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Oilers Takeaways: Edmonton survives scary finish for third win in a row – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada coach John Herdman disputes Croatian counterpart's account of skipped post-match handshake – The Globe and Mail

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Canada head coach John Herdman during a World Cup match against Croatia, at the Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 27.The Associated Press

Canada coach John Herdman is disputing his Croatian counterpart’s account of why there was no handshake after their World Cup game.

Herdman had antagonized the Croatian camp with a heated postgame message to his players after Canada’s opening 1-0 loss to Belgium at the soccer showcase. Asked in a pitch-side interview what he had said in a postgame huddle to his players, Herdman replied: “I told them they belong here and we’re going to go and eff – Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets.”

That prompted a stern lecture from Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on the need for respect. And after Croatia beat the Canadians 4-1 Sunday, Dalic was asked if he had a chance to shake hands with Herdman following the final whistle.

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“I did not see the other head coach after the match,” he said through an interpreter. “When I lose I always congratulate the winner. He was not there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s obviously mad. He is a good coach. He is a high-quality professional. But it will take some time for him to learn some things.”

Herdman, whose postgame news conference preceded Dalic’s on Sunday, disputed that account Wednesday when asked about it.

“Look, we shook hands before the game. So that happened,” he said. “At the end of the game, the usual process – no different than [with Belgium coach] Roberto Martinez. You shake hands with the coach, then you go shake hands with the referee.

“When I turned round, [Dalic] was already off down the touchline, which is his right to do. He’s celebrating. He’s just beaten Canada. It was a big celebration for him. He was off and I couldn’t get to shake his hand. I went into the field, shook the ref’s hand, shook players’ hands. And didn’t get to see him.

“That moment’s gone. We’re into process now – team huddle, see your fans, flash interviews, calm yourself down so you don’t say anything and move on.”

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