The excuses for Kyrie Irving have run out. The conspiracy theories have become old. Now, all that stands is a person deflecting any wrongdoing and playing the what-about-ism card that has been a staple of the people he has sworn to go against.
The Brooklyn Nets and the NBA have given Irving every opportunity to simply apologize for his social media posts and hateful comments afterward. At every opportunity, Irving has made it his job to look like a misunderstood victim who is in the right and battling against oppressors everywhere.
Because of this, the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets need to suspend Kyrie Irving immediately.
In the end, Thursday’s press conference was the clearest sign that Irving is not just unapologetic for causing harm to the Jewish community, he just doesn’t care.
Irving was asked simply if he believed the Holocaust, the systematic genocide of over 6 million Jews during World War II, actually happened (a key point in the video that Irving had shared on social media).
Instead of simply saying “yes”, the point guard decided to go off on a tangent saying: “So the Holocaust in itself is an event that means something to a large group of people that suffered something that could have been avoided.”
Sounds like a really remorseful person. Of course, Irving couldn’t simply give basic answers.
In the same rambling diatribe surrounding the Holocaust, the Nets guard decided to play the what-aboutism game saying: “No one said that I had to stand here today and understand that many people that come from generations 60 years ago, four years ago enslaved some of my ancestors.”
It’s not enough for Kyrie to come out and apologize for something hurtful. It’s up to him to find a way to make himself the victim of his own doing.
It’s not Irving’s fault that he posted an extremely anti-semitic video. It’s the media’s fault for…as Irving puts it “where were you when I was a kid finding out that 300 million of my ancestors were buried in America?”
The NBA and the Brooklyn Nets should have had enough. Myers Leonard, after making an anti-semitic statement last season, was fined, apologized, and hasn’t played a basketball game in the NBA since.
The difference with Kyrie is simple. He’s an All-Star, a top-50 player in NBA history. Does that make him absolved from wrongdoing? Do we just simply have to forgive and forget someone’s hateful comments when they aren’t apologetic?
On Wednesday, Irving and the Nets sent out a joint statement that money would be donated to “organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance” In the end, that money could very well be used to push out the one guard on the team that is actually a part of the hate and intolerance he preaches.
If the NBA stands by their million statements on their courts and jerseys, their response would be simple. It’s not about comparing atrocities. It’s not about righting the past wrongs of America. It’s about realizing a prominent player in the league doesn’t care whose language he hurts, and who is negatively affected by it.
There’s nowhere left for the NBA to hide on this matter. Either they let Irving continue to play and allow the optics of an anti-semitic person openly collect money on the court, or they suspend him and show that the league is more than just empty statements and promises. Everyone around the league knows what they should do.
The ball is in the league’s court now.