Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell apologized Wednesday for a prank gone wrong involving a recorded video of teammate Nick Young. During an interview with The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the rookie said he was "sick" and "sorry" about the situation, which has led to widespread reporting of locker room issues in L.A. over the past few days.
Russell, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, came under fire recently for trying to prank Young by recording him talking about cheating on his fiancee, Iggy Azalea. The video somehow got out and led to other Lakers players shunning Russell during a team meal. Tom Ziller has a detailed breakdown of the situation here.
The former Ohio State star told The Vertical that he didn't realize "these pranks that we pull on each other could have bigger consequences." Still just 20 years old, Russell seems to be trying to use this as a learning experience for how to conduct himself professionally as part of an NBA team.
"I am sick," Russell said. "I am sorry about recording the video. I can’t repeat myself enough on that: I am sorry I recorded that video. I feel horrible. I wish this never happened."
Russell said that he was unsure how the video ever got out and took responsibility for the fact that it did. He also said that he "cherishes" his friendship with Young, who is 10 years his senior, and understands that it will now take time to rebuild his relationships inside the locker room.
"Listen, man, I know that it will take some time to regain trust and confidence," Russell said. "I hope they know I would never intentionally hurt someone -- and know how horrible I feel."
The question now is whether his teammates will be on board. Young tweeted "What I accept?" not long after Russell's apology was released, only to quickly delete the tweet. That could be construed as refuting reports that he's accepted Russell's apology. Young spoke about the situation before the team's game Wednesday night, saying he wants to handle things with Russell in private.
Nick Young addressing the D'Angelo Russell situation pic.twitter.com/JFyOigPdpB— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 31, 2016
"I don't want to get into my personal life right now," Young said. "I think it would be best if me and D'Angelo handle it, the situation we have, in a private manner outside of the media ... I think it's something we do need to sit down and talk about."
Russell also spoke with reporters Wednesday evening, saying that he didn't believe he was being alienated but that there was a "bad vibe."
Russell is clearly a central building block for L.A., so it's important for the Lakers to reach a resolution with this situation as quickly as possible. Still, even with Russell seemingly handling the aftermath as best he can, it'll be interesting to see how his teammates interact with him on and off the court for the remainder of the season.