Nets GM Sean Marks, Kevin Durant reacts to Kyrie Irving suspension

New Orleans Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram (14) drives past Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving (11) and Kevin Durant during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin I

Kyrie Irving may be suspended by the Nets, but the controversy that has engulfed his start to the season continued to cast a pall over the team while they prepared to face the Wizards in Washington. 

Irving was suspended a minimum of five games on Thursday night by the team after he continued to fail to apologize for tweeting out a movie filled with antisemitic rhetoric last week. Irving had faced growing backlash, especially after two media sessions over the past week. 

Nets general manager Sean Marks addressed reporters in Washinton D.C. during the team’s shootaround and said that there had not been enough dialog between Irving and the organization. He also put the ball in Irving’s court for when he would like to go through the remedial steps they need him to go through in order to return, The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer reported. 

The Nets have not considered waiving Irving during the latest off-the-court saga, Marks told reporters, and called his apology a good first step. The Nets general manager has not spoken to Irving since his apology late Thursday night. 

The whole situation has added to the chaos that has already gripped the Nets. And NBA superstar Kevin Durant languished the latest controversy. 

“It’s an unfortunate situation for people that are impacted by this situation. It just sucks all around for everybody. Hopefully we can move past it,” Durant said Friday morning, according to the New York Post. “That’s just the way of the NBA now. Media, so many outlets now and their stories hit pretty fast now. That’s where all the chaos is coming from, from everybody’s opinions. Everybody has an opinion on this situation and we’re hearing it nonstop.

“But once the balls start bouncing and we get into practice none of that stuff seeps into the gym. So that’s the cool part about being in the league. But once you step off the court, everyone got the microphones out and the microscopes looking at you asking you what you feel about it. That’s been difficult. But the game is the constant for us.”

Durant did take to social media to clarify his initial comments and denounce antisemitism. The Nets superstar is often noted as someone that puts the game of basketball above all else. 

“Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused..I don’t condone hate speech or anti-Semitism, I’m about spreading love always. Our game Unites people and I wanna make sure that’s at the forefront,” Durant tweeted. 

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Earlier in the morning, he had been asked about his thoughts on the whole situation and how he felt Irving had handled everything. 

“I ain’t hear to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their views or anything, it’s just…I just didn’t like anything that went on. I feel like it was all unnecessary,” Durant said. “I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organization. I just don’t like none of it.”