Anthony Edwards said he's “willing to do whatever it takes to make it right” with the LBGTQ community and Minnesota Timberwolves fans following the homophobic remarks he recently made on social media.
Addressing reporters at Timberwolves media day on Monday, his first public appearance since the NBA fined him $40,000 for his now-deleted video clip on Instagram, Edwards apologized again for the disparaging, profane comment he made about what he assumed to be the sexual orientation of a group of men he filmed on a sidewalk outside a vehicle he was riding in.
“Man, I respect everybody. I know what I posted was immature, and I’m sorry for that if I hurt anyone,” Edwards said. "I’m working to be better.”
Edwards said he would be OK having a gay teammate if someone came out and would try to clamp down on homophobic language in a locker room if he heard it.
“For sure. I'm taking it as far as I can. That's not who I am,” Edwards said.
After ranking 19th in the league with an average of 21.3 points per game last season and helping lead the Timberwolves back to the playoffs, Edwards in his second year flourished into a true star and fan favorite who consistently brought a youthful energy and a charming confidence to the court and off of it.
MPR News is Reader Funded
Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.
Following the trouble he stirred up earlier this month, Edwards found himself in the strange and sudden position of being an unpopular figure.
“It’s kind of messed up, because I want people to love me, man. I don’t want to give nobody a reason to hate me or talk bad about me, so I felt bad for myself and for what I said about people for sure,” said the 21-year-old Edwards, who was the first overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and coach Chris Finch both had stern conversations with Edwards after the social media post.
“It just makes me think before I do everything now, pretty much," Edwards said.
Said Connelly: "He’s disappointed in his own actions. He’s disappointed that he put himself in that position, and hopefully he’ll continue to grow and we’ll continue to educate these guys on the importance of being really positive community members and respectful of all people that we’re lucky enough to have in our community.”
Media day for the Timberwolves has often been accompanied by some kind of off-the-court distraction, with the sudden firing of president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas (2021) and the trade demand made by star Jimmy Butler (2018) the most recent examples.
This time, the Edwards situation overshadowed some of the arrival of Rudy Gobert, the veteran center and defensive ace who was acquired this summer from the Utah Jazz for four players and five first-round draft picks.
Gobert recently returned from the EuroBasket championship, where his France national team lost to host Spain in the gold medal game in which he had only six points and two shots.
“You learn from the losses. You learn from the wins. For me, just learn how to finish the job. We had a really good tournament, but we fell short at the end,” Gobert said.
Playing this season on a salary of more than $31 million, point guard D'Angelo Russell has returned to training camp with an upbeat attitude, a new pick-and-roll partner in Gobert — and as a new dad.
After an up-and-down season, and a first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies — a six-game loss — that left much to be desired, Russell did not receive a contract extension. But the eighth-year veteran didn't get traded, either.
“The money’s in free agency, so if that’s what you’re about, tap into it. No frustration," he said. “The organization has treated me as great as it could possibly go, and the people here now have obviously showed their love toward me and how much they want me to be here. That’s all I can ask for.”
Karl-Anthony Towns was absent from media day with an unspecified illness, but he was not expected to miss the first practice on Tuesday.
Versatile forward Kyle Anderson was the most accomplished of the role players signed in free agency. The ninth-year veteran came from the Grizzlies, not coincidentally, after both parties made a positive impression on each other during the playoffs.
“The fans were awesome and then the team played with tenacity,” Anderson said. "Looking back at it, it was just like, ‘Wow, Minnesota was all in.’”