Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said he was just “frustrated” and has apologized for flippantly saying “f**k Thanksgiving” at a press conference, after Wednesday’s 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks.
The controversy stemmed from a reporter wishing Irving a Happy Thanksgiving as the player was leaving the press conference. In reply, Irving grumbled, “f**k Thanksgiving” over his shoulder, according to Sports Illustrated.
But now Irving is apologizing saying that his offensive comment was just said out of frustration after losing to the Knicks.
“I spoke w/ frustration after last nights game and spoke words that shouldn’t be in a professional setting no matter what,” the player tweeted on Thanksgiving Day.
Irving added that he did not mean to attack the holiday.
Meant no disrespect to the Holiday and those who celebrate it respectfully. I’m grateful for the time We all can share with our families. We are always ONE. 🔺👁
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) November 22, 2018
Some read more into Irving’s apology, though. Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann thought he spied Irving’s sponsors jumping up and demanding he apologize for attacking Thanksgiving.
Given Kyrie Irving's substantial business outside of playing for the Celtics–his endorsement deals with Nike and Pepsi; his Uncle Drew character–there are financial & contractual reasons for him to avoid making controversial statements, and, like here, retracting ones he makes. https://t.co/NP3XqD4d01
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) November 22, 2018
Some of Irving’s fans, though, wondered if Irving was referring to the penchant of many liberals to demean Thanksgiving as a “racist” holiday that “celebrates native American genocide.”
One of Irving’s Twitter followers, for instance, scoffed at the apology saying, “Why should you apologize Kyrie? Maybe I wouldn’t have used profane language, but the legacy of colonization and genocide of Native Americans should not be celebrated.”
Irving’s grandmother was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the player has a large tribal tattoo on the back of his neck. The tribe has given him the name “Little Mountain.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.