After another loss for the Lakers, this one against the Utah Jazz, LeBron James put another key in that coffin in which the public image has become, and we will see if it is also definitely the sports career, of Kyrie Irving: “I do not condone any kind of hate. No one, no race. What Kyrie has done has been painful for a lot of people, so I can’t respect that. If you promote or express things that harm others like this, I cannot respect it.”.
It is not a small thing. First, because even if it is a message whose content should be considered with the minimum of decency and empathy that should be (they should) rule the world, they are also words that NBA players, individually and through their union, had avoided uttering. The Players Association (NBPA) did not name Kyrie, his vice president, in his statement. Kevin Durant, his partner and friend at least as far as is knowngot into another media mess yesterday for wanting to tiptoe over an issue the one that stars like Devin Booker said they weren’t very aware. Even Steve Kerr, whose voice has thundered on other social issues, avoided giving a frank answer. Against that, at least, LeBron has sent a clear message with a first and last name. Another important detail.
Also, and with speculation as to whether the Lakers might still try to go after Kyrie in his state of sporting desperation and Despite the regrets, This appearance by LeBron seems to completely clear up the mystery. The Cavs’ miracle duo reunion in 2016 (the 2016 ring against the Warriors) seems further away than ever, if ever really close. Nor was it likely that the Lakers were going to move in any case, for a basic question of image (and hopefully decency) and because, in addition, there are figures from the Jewish community in the franchise property. The play did not seem possible in any case, not now and in the critical situation in which Kyrie has put himself.
Nike also abandons Kyrie Irving
Hours before the Lakers played, and LeBron appeared before the press, another of the domino pieces fell: the breaking of Nike with Kyrie. A move that had become inevitable after the suspension of the Nets and the strong slap on the wrist by Adam Silver to a castled player, who got involved in anti-Semitic content and spent a week without apology, and with moments of very arrogant attitude, until finally expressed his regret … four hours after that suspension, which will separate him from the Nets “at least five games”. He’s already served one… and the Nets have won it. That means about 1.2 million Kyrie will lose from his salary (36.9 for the player option executed in the absence of an extension offer). And it supposes, according to informants close to the situation, the possibility real about what the punishment is extended and that the Nets have definitely tired of the headaches which implies having a player of exceptional talent but impossible to fit into the dynamics of the team.
Nike announced that he was also suspending his contract with Kyrie. And he did it without sparing criticism: “At Nike there is no place for hate speech. We condemn all forms of anti-Semitism. We are deeply hurt by this situation and the impact it is having”. Kyrie had a contract with the Oregon brand until October 2023. In three days, moreover, the new sneaker in his line was going to hit the market, a kyrie 8 whose release on the market has obviously been aborted. Another economic setback for the player, who has his own line in Nike since 2014, the second most successful of the firm after LeBron’s. Now it remains to be seen if Nike He asks the players who wear the previous Kyrie models, which are not a few, to stop doing so on the NBA courts.
The Nets, from patience to betrayal
Yesterday also two heavy weights of ESPN (Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne) have published an extensive article in which they give context to the state of things and the extreme tension experienced in recent days within the Nets. According to this information, owner Joe Tsai tried to hold on as long as possible, to buy time despite the intensifying criticism to try to get Kyrie to apologize, for there to be an acknowledgment of his mistake and a healthier way out of this ugly affair. When the player kept missing chances to fix things and being obtuse in front of the microphones, the suspension came. And boredom: Shelburne and Wojnarowski say that Kyrie did not respond to any of the messages that Tsai sent him and they assure that all communication with him this season has been through his agent, and his father’s partner, Shetellia Riley. Tsai has felt “repeatedly betrayed” by Kyrie Irving. And the locker room ended the game against the Bulls disappointed, a defeat in which the point guard, whom they saw “in other world” Y “disconnected”, he did not make a single basket until the fourth quarter.
In any case, there is a way back, for Kyrie, at least in theory. His agent received an email explaining what the Nets had defined when they announced the suspension as “objective measures that deal with the damaging effect of their behavior”. Namely, concrete things that Kyrie has to do so that he considers the end of the suspension and his return to the team. They are: a public statement acknowledging that the movie she posted about on Instagram is anti-Semitic; An apology for having supported it and an acknowledgment that it contains data that is in fact untrue; Work sessions on the danger of hate speech and, as general manager Sean Marks also assured before the press, meetings with the leaders of the Jewish community in Brooklyn.