Enes Kanter has apologized for telling a teammate to “fight” during Monday’s loss to the Portland Trailblazers, insisting the situation got lost in translation.
“The front office told me I cannot say stuff like that,” Kanter said on Tuesday according to ESPN’s Ian Begley. “It’s a learning process. This is my second language. When I say fight it means compete, play hard, compete. You get a tech; you get a tech. They told me I cannot say stuff like that. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry NBA, my fault.”
But Kanter’s initial explanation of the situation, which he made in the aftermath of Monday’s game, certainly did not suggest there was much room for misinterpretation:
“I’m not going to tell who, but I told somebody, ‘Hey man, go out there and fight with somebody,” Kanter said. “It will get the energy up,'” Kanter said after the game. “I’m serious. If you go out there and just hit somebody or just fight with somebody, get a technical foul, I will pay for the fine, I don’t care. Just go out there and do your thing. Because we need that energy, we need that fight. It doesn’t matter if we’re down by 25, a fight, get a technical foul, the crowd is in it, and (Portland is) gonna get nervous.”
While Kanter’s comments appear to be very explicit, the big man insists he simply wanted to see some more fight from his team, with the Knicks trailing Portland by 26 at three quarter time.
It’s worth noting that Michael Beasley and Frank Ntilikina picked up technicals after a scuffle with Trailblazers big man Jusuf Nurkic late in the game.
But it’s almost impossible to know whether the incident was a direct result of Kanter’s comments.