Brooklyn Nets All-Star Point Guard Kyrie Irving has recently been fined $25,000 for saying that he would not talk to the media in the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Irving was slammed for the statement he made and was called, “immature, occasionally selfish, and comes off as a damn snob” by ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.
It might be against his contract, but Kyrie Irving has all the right in the world to openly say that he wants to avoid the media.
Here is a series of complications Kyrie Irving has gotten into with the media since signing with the Nets where Irving has been incorrectly perceived, slammed for his opinions, or the media twisting what he says:
In November 2019, it was reported that Irving was having, “mood swings that were affecting the team” which was debunked by then Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and teammate Jarrett Allen via interviews. Turns out, that was false information made up by a Boston reporter.
That same month, Kyrie Irving said that he “needed new teammates” which was perceived in a completely different way than what he meant. Irving was implying that they just needed more pieces due to the frequency of player injuries that were occurring and was not putting down any of his teammates. Michael Grady (one of the Nets announcers) literally reported on live TV that the Nets and Kyrie Irving were on the same page and have ALWAYS been on the same page after the misunderstanding of Kyrie’s statement by the media.
Now, let’s fast forward to the NBA bubble.
Kyrie Irving was the one that came up with the idea that players should protest for the Black Lives Matter movement or stay safe from COVID-19 instead of playing. All NBA fans were angry at Irving, telling him to essentially “shut up and dribble” because the NBA season is restarting after the COVID-19 outbreak. Meanwhile, when the Jacob Blake shooting happened, the entire NBA stopped gameplay for 2-3 days to protest and there was significantly less backlash.
The rumor that Kyrie Irving said in the Nets group chat that they should start a separate NBA bubble led by the Nets was also incorrect, debunked by teammates Chris Chiozza, Theo Pinson, Wilson Chandler, and Kevin Durant all via Twitter, along with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai.
No player in the NBA is getting media treatment as bad as Kyrie Irving is. He has been advocating for players to be able to have their own voice and be able to speak more, but fans and media are telling players to “shut up and dribble” instead of letting them express their opinions and blame Irving for distracting players and creating drama.
These players are not much different than the fans, and they can have an unpopular opinion. Kyrie is not a loved NBA player, but he is not a toxic teammate and frankly, looking out for them. His opinions are not meant to be liked by fans, because he sees issues and wants his teammates and other players to be happy and play basketball.
As Nets Owner Joe Tsai affirmed, “Don’t believe everything you see in the media… he’s [Kyrie] a very smart player who wants to express his views”.
Photo: Nicole Sweet