Thursday night, the Brooklyn Nets (finally) suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games, without pay, a few hours later. he again refused to apologize for releasing a film that embraces and disseminates anti-Semitism.
When asked earlier today during a media scrum if he was surprised by the amount of pain his decision had caused, Irving instead offered his own question. “Where were you when I was a kid, figuring out that 300 million of my ancestors are buried in America?” When later asked if he had anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving dodged the question and replied “I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I’m from” twice rather than providing a simple answer” Yes or no”. It’s not what anyone associated with the Nets wanted to hear, although Irving’s tone shouldn’t have surprised a single person. His intransigence was in order long before the team signed him.
Hours later, Brooklyn’s press release announcing its decision to suspend Kyrie was firm and direct, which can’t be said about the word salad statements about it previously released by the NBA, the NBPA and… the Nets. (None of Irving’s co-workers spoke up to rebuke the seven-time All-Star.)
“We were appalled today, when given the opportunity in a media briefing, that Kyrie refused to state unequivocally that he held no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to acknowledge specific hateful elements in the film. It was not the first time that he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify ” Brooklyn’s most recent statement reads. “As a result, we are of the opinion that he is currently unsuitable to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
The Nets say they won’t allow Kyrie to join the team until he “satisfies a series of objective corrective measures that address the adverse impact of his conduct.” The suspension comes a week after Irving’s initial tweet, and only 24 hours after the Nets, Irving and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a joint statement trumpeting a pair of $500,000 donations from Irving and the Nets. In it, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the organization would work with Kyrie to “open up dialogue and increase understanding.”
But when Irving’s suspension was announced by the Nets on Thursday, Greenblatt released another statementannouncing the ADL would not accept Irving’s money after all because he had shown a lack of responsibility for his actions. Earlier Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver came to prominence as he called Irving’s decision “reckless” before expressing his disappointment when he realized the donation didn’t go through. would not accompany an apology or a denunciation of the anti-Semitic message that Irving had amplified.
Nets owner Joe Tsai was the first party official to reprimand Kyrie by name last Friday, tweeting that he was “disappointed that Kyrie seems to be supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation…” Tsai said. followed this tweet. with everyone’s favorite nothing burger—“It’s bigger than basketball” — then refused to administer a punishment for another six days. Even before this punishment could materialize, Tsai would have approved the potential hiring of Ime Udoka.
Despite everything that’s happened, it’s clear that Irving still agrees with some what he mentioned on social media or saw in the movie. Otherwise, he would condemn it in full, then show remorse or regret. His apology on Instagram, which only came after his suspension without pay on Thursday night, did little to clarify. Irving is anything but casual when it comes to how he uses social media. He shares what he thinks is vital, what he thinks others need to digest. This is how a self-proclaimed “beacon of light” behaves.
When ESPN’s Nick Friedell asked him after a game last Saturday why he had recently chosen to share an old clip of Alex Jones, Irving took his microphone to the podium and rolled his eyes.
“I don’t agree with the position, the narrative, the lawsuit Alex Jones had with Sandy Hook, or any of the kids who felt like they had to relive trauma. Or parents who had to relive a trauma. Or to be dismissive of all the lives that were lost in this tragic event. My message was a message from Alex Jones that he did in the early 90s or late 90s about secret societies in occult America,” Irving said. “And that’s true.” And that’s true !
All of this is disturbing. None of this is isolated. Irving has been a mercurial, maddeningly popular NBA player for years. He has a huge platform and undeniable influence. What he chooses to do with it has often been discouraging, to say the least. In February 2017, Irving infamously appeared on the road trip podcast with Allie Clifton, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson to cast doubt on the shape of planet Earth.
In 2019, he told The New York Times of his plan to one day own a television network. (Later, in the same interview – a year after he apologized for suggesting the Earth was flat – Irving said, “I’m not against anyone who thinks the Earth is round. I’m not against anyone thinks she’s flat. I love hearing the debate. It’s fun to talk about it.”
Then there was his refusal to get vaccinated amid a pandemic that was killing thousands of Americans every day. The decision forced the Nets to ban him from team activities, a stance they only reversed months later when they realized winning basketball games was their real priority and decided to allow Irving to compete when the team was away from New York (which enforced a warrant prohibiting Irving from entering the Barclays Center until he was shot).
If he’s still interested, Irving may now have the opportunity to change careers and really get into television production. Or he can dress up Nov. 13 in Los Angeles, in a nationally televised game against the Lakers, and act like nothing happened. This story is hard to follow, let alone predict.
But for that last scenario to happen, Irving would have to express contrition about something that Irving doesn’t feel contrite about. Aside from his apologies on Instagram, he remains a stubborn pseudo-intellectual. And assuming that post isn’t enough, chances are Irving’s four-point miss Tuesday night against the Bulls will be the last we see of him in a Nets jersey.
If so, no one really knows what will happen next. Would the Nets trade him? Where? Would Brooklyn give it up? Would Kyrie be ready to sign a minimum contract in another team? Would any of the other 29 NBA franchises still want to be part of the Kyrie Irving business? This last question deserves a few questions. Irving’s talent is unquestionably valuable. He’s in the fourth year of a $136,490,600 contract because (a) millions of people enjoy watching him play basketball and (b) he (ostensibly) pushes to win, which gets attention, marketing and lots and lots of money.
But there is a time when someone’s behavior can do more harm to a company’s bottom line than any amount of talent does good. The Nets might be in a place where the benefits can’t outweigh the cost. (As I wrote earlier this week, it’s hard to take seriously a team that calls Irving an employee.)
So if his time in the NBA really ends, either imminently or once his current contract expires this summer, where would Irving, who turns 31 in March, go from here? China? Retirement? Tucker Carlson?
His playing career could resume in a few weeks or be over as we know. Irving’s apology on Instagram was the bare minimum. In it, he said he was sorry for tweeting the link “without context and a factual explanation outlining specific beliefs in the documentary that I agreed with and disagreed with. agree” without actually explaining what beliefs he might possibly agree with. in this particular movie.
It was too little, too late, and certainly not an “objective remedy”.
There are plenty of people who want to see Kyrie consider what he has done and understand its magnitude – who care enough about forgiving, extending grace, learning, growing and moving forward. before. It’s not up to them, however.
Pride comes before the fall. Kyrie’s future is in her hands. And, despite being an avid reader of the Oxford Dictionaryhe might be the only person suffering from this experience who doesn’t understand this.
#selfinflicted #death #Kyrie #Irving