Nets PG Kyrie Irving deserves an apology from the media after being criticized.
Let’s take it back to mid-June, when the NBA was gearing up to resume its season in Orlando amid the global pandemic and civil unrest stemming from the killing of George Floyd, who was in the custody of Minneapolis police offers.
At the time, we saw numerous NBA players make powerful statements while on the front lines of peaceful protests. Reports subsequently confirmed that a group of players were looking to take things a step further by sitting out of the league’s intended resumption in order to support the nationwide call for social justice reform.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was chief among these players, and he was thoroughly eviscerated by the media for suggesting such a thing. He was leading the conference calls and players-only meetings, proposing that players entering the bubble would distract and weaken the historic stand against racism.
Irving was disparaged by countless fans and media members who convinced themselves that playing would send a stronger message. Well, less than three months later, the six-time All-Star’s viewpoint doesn’t look so crazy. In fact, it appears that more people (including players) should have taken him more seriously.
This conversation returned to the national spotlight on Wednesday in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As far as the NBA’s response is concerned, it started with the Milwaukee Bucks boycotting Game 5 of their playoff matchup with the Orlando Magic.
It was reported thereafter that the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder wouldn’t be playing Game 5 of their series. Before the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers could confirm that they would be following the lead of their colleagues, the NBA announced the postponement of Wednesday’s entire playoff slate.
What followed was a meeting between the players to determine the fate of the rest of the season Amazingly enough, the Lakers and Clippers — the two prohibitive favorites to win the championship this year — voted against continuing the season.
These are the same conversations that Irving tried to ignite and got dismissed for doing so because he tends to think outside the box more than others. That’s as disturbing as it gets when you consider that the 28-year-old superstar has pledged $1.5 million to support WNBA players who opted out of their restart to continue the fight for social reform.
He also produced a documentary on Breonna Taylor, an innocent black woman who was wrongfully shot and killed in her own home back in March when Louisville police officers executed a no-knock search warrant.
We’re not trying to take away from the NBA’s ground-breaking step in boycotting playoff games. However, just remember that it was Irving who tried communicating that this was the right course of action in the very beginning … and he was chastised for it.