New Orleans Pelicans rookie Jaxson Hayes apologized late Friday night for posting an expletive-loaded social media rant earlier in the day in which he directed a derogatory remark at the NBA for snubbing him from the NBA Rising Stars Game.
Prior to the Pelicans' 139-111 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, Hayes posted a video that eventually went viral in which he said: "This is all I’m going to say on the subject, bro. Because all of you want to keep sliding up and (expletive) and saying, 'Oh, you should have made it.' Yeah, I should’ve, bro. But I didn’t. So, I mean, it is what it is. The NBA is a bunch of (expletive). … I work in a (expletive) political league that’s all about politics, and it is what it is."
The NBA's Rising Stars Game showcases the league's best rookies and sophomore players on the Friday of the NBA All-Star weekend. Hayes' teammates Zion Williamson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were both selected as rookies.
New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) dunks over Los Angeles Clippers forward JaMychal Green (4) and guard Landry Shamet (20) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)
Hayes, the No. 8 pick in the 2019 draft, is on a guaranteed two-year, $9.9 million deal and likely will have the final two seasons of his rookie contract picked up so that he earns $22.1 million over his first four seasons.
He apologized on Instagram after his team's game late Friday night.
He wrote: “I want to apologize for my actions today. I used extremely poor judgement and inexcusable language in a moment of frustration. In no way does what I said represent who I am. ….I’m extremely blessed and grateful to play in the NBA, represent the New Orleans Pelicans and make my family and friends proud. I would never do anything to jeopardize the opportunity I have to play the game I love and have a positive impact on others.
“I want to congratulate all of the player that were selected in the Rising Stars Game. Every single player has worked extremely hard this season and are more than deserving of the honor. I absolutely don’t want to take any credit away from the them.
“I’m sorry to everyone I let down – the fans, my family and friends, (Pelicans owner) Mrs. (Gayle) Benson and the Pelicans organization, my coaches and teammates and the NBA. I promise to learn and grow from this mistake.”
Hayes, 19, is averaging 8.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks and shooting 66.5 percent from the field.
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