BY ANTHONY SLATER
OAKLAND, Calif. – For the first time since his racially charged, controversial postgame comments in Minneapolis late Friday night (March 10), Andre Iguodala spoke with gathered reporters at the team’s Monday afternoon practice in Oakland.
Iguodala didn’t backtrack, but expressed regret at the timing of the comments and who they were perceived to be directed toward. Iguodala said the n-word three times and then, when asked about Steve Kerr’s decision to rest him and others in San Antonio the next night, Iguodala said “I just do what master say.”
There was an immediate backlash. He was fined $10,000 by the NBA on Monday.
“It probably was the wrong time to express myself,” Iguodala said minutes before the fine was announced. “We all have our own opinions. We all have our own feelings. I feel like we’re entitled to them. We just try to pick and choose the time to do it and who you share it with.
“Because some may not understand where you’re coming from, which is to be expected. I feel like it’s the wrong time because it puts my team in the situation and my coaching staff in that situation.
I have a great relationship with Steve Kerr. And he knows that.
Iguodala continued, “He spoke to you guys about it. But Steve in his words still may not be … someone still may not believe him. But he and I are in a great place. We don’t even have to speak about it because in no way shape or form was I talking about him.”
Kerr has twice been questioned about it. He said he discussed the situation with Iguodala, wanted to keep that conversation private but didn’t take exception to what was said.
“He wasn’t talking about me,” Kerr said. “I wasn’t the slightest bit offended. As I mentioned the other night, he has a very cryptic sense of humor,’’ Kerr said.
“The only thing I’d say, there’s certain humorous things you should say in the sanctity of the locker room and there’s certain humorous things you might want to keep from the media. That was one of them and he knows that.”
Playing ‘mind games’
Iguodala regularly engages in obscure discussions with reporters (and others), often off the record.
This time it wasn’t.
“I like to have fun with you guys,” Iguodala said. “I shouldn’t say fun. I like to play mind games with you guys. But it still doesn’t take away how someone may feel. A lot of guys may feel a certain way, but they don’t know how to express it. I may have chosen the wrong way to express it. That’s my personal way at getting back at you guys a little bit.”
Questions still remain about who exactly the “master” comment was directed toward. If it wasn’t Kerr, could it have been at the league for the grueling schedule that led to the Warriors resting Iguodala, among others? Iguodala was asked directly but, no surprise, answered a bit cryptically.
“You’re having conversations with a group every single day,” Iguodala said. “They thrust themselves so much into your lives, it’s almost like you have a robotic type of mindset. You can have a mentality of past or present groups of people, generations. You can feel similar, not the same, but similar. You can speak up on the same routine and kind of grind. Like I said, may not have been the right time or place to speak.
“He continued, “But that doesn’t change the way someone may feel. I feel like that’s what everyone has to respect. If someone feels a certain way, you can’t say they’re a bad person, as long as there’s no prejudice or ill intent toward you.”