By: Menappe Kinkoue-Poufong
On March 30, 2016, the Twitter-sphere was set ablaze when artist Iggy Azalea tweeted her reaction to a video of her fiancé, Los Angeles Laker Nick Young, detailing how he cheated on her.
The controversy didn’t arise in the fact that Young had cheated but in that his confession was recorded by fellow Los Angeles Laker, rookie D’Angelo Russell.
Although Azalea appreciated Russell’s video, having said, “I actually liked his film. Thanks bro,” many saw the video as a betrayal and breaking the “bro-code.
The video had made Russell the subject of social media memes and backlash from within the basketball community. In a live TV interview with ESPN, former 2003 NBA champion Stephen Jackson said, “Old rule: Snitches get stitches. You don’t expect that from your teammate. It’s supposed to be a brotherhood.”
Attleboro High School (AHS) senior and four year member of the school’s soccer team, Junior Coca, shared similar feelings about the scandal. “A team is supposed to be a brotherhood. My boys are supposed to have my back no matter what”, he said.
On whether Russell should’ve been recording in the first place, Coca said, “Players can record each other singing and dancing in the locker room but personal conversations shouldn’t be recorded. There was no need to record the conversation. He kind of set himself up.”
AHS senior Jackie Johnson also believes the conservation should have been kept private. “100 percent it’s a violation of privacy”, Johnson said. “You would think as teammates there would be trust and loyalty between one another. Those are his boys.”
However, Coca believes that Young is responsible in the situation as well. “He (Young) shouldn’t have cheated. Some stuff you should keep to yourself. With something like this, it’s best to keep it to yourself.”
Personal reactions to the video were mixed. Reactions included disappointment, anger, and betrayal with AHS senior Fredy Moran having said, “[If I were Young] I wouldn’t talk to him knowing he screwed me over.”
On whether Russell deserved the backlash he received, reactions were also mixed. “I feel people were more upset with D’Angelo than Nick but it should be the other way around”, said Johnson. Moran, however, felt differently having said, “Russell deserves backlash from his teammates for breaking a brotherhood code. They’re not only teammates they’re friends” making the video more damaging to the teammates’ relationship.
Within the same week, another scandal rocked the sports and entertainment world and created another social media frenzy.
Artist PartyNextDoor posted an image of himself and R&B singer Kehlani together on Instagram. At the time the image was posted, Kehlani was in a high profile relationship with Cleveland Cavalier, Kyrie Irving.
Reactions to this situation were mixed as well. “Wow. It goes to show you no matter who you are, you can get cheated on”, said Coca. “I didn’t think it was a big deal. It’s not a big deal when guys do it, so I don’t see how it’d be different if Kehlani did it,” said Johnson.
On whether Kehlani deserves the backlash she’s received, Coca believes she didn’t deserved the criticism. “It’s sexist. Just because she’s a girl she’s receiving backlash. We don’t know the full story, so we can’t make judgements off speculation.” Johnson was 50/50 on the matter. “Celebrities and guys cheat all the time and people look past it.”
This situation took a more serious turn when it was revealed that criticisms had lead Kehlani to attempt suicide. Some believed the action was “overdramatic” and that she faked a suicide attempt for attention, but others could understand the action because of the scrutiny she had received.
Despite this, the impact of social media has turned the scandal into a spectacle and has garnered celebrity input. People have made jokes like “Kyrie Irving has the best handles in the NBA but can’t handle his girl” while continuing to shame Kehlani.
However, social media had blown both situations out of proportion. Although social media can be used for good, to do things like shed light on global issues, it can also do damage. Social media can spread false information and constant ridiculing can drive people over the edge. Ultimately, social media has tremendous power that can be used positively or negatively.