Nets Sean Marks addresses latest Kyrie Irving drama

Nets Kyrie Irving
Fans with matching shirts look on as Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) walks by during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh

As the Nets tried to navigate the waters after parting ways with their head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday, Brooklyn was still trying to deal with the fallout of Kyrie Irving’s social media post last week that linked to a movie filled with antisemitic rhetoric. 

The latest Irving drama has caused plenty of off-the-court headaches and saw a group of fans during Monday’s game sitting courtside wearing shirts with the phrase “Fight Antisemitism” on them. Irving didn’t address the media after that game and won’t be doing so any time soon, but Nets general manager Sean Marks said there have been ongoing discussions about what has transpired recently. 

“Some internal some external discussions,” Marks remarked during a press conference at Barclays Center ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls. “You know, I know from the highest levels, we’re involved with the ADL, and getting their advice and just, hopefully, they can advise us. We can bring something to the table that all parties can be at least understandable to one another here and understand that there is no tolerance and no room for any hate speech, any antisemitic remarks whatsoever. Whether it’s in this organization or any organization for that matter.”

While Marks said that the organization had been having conversations with Anti-Defamation League to help guide them through the situation, he would not say if Irving was part of those discussions. The situation has been something that had been an added cloud over the Nets, who had started 1-5 before they finally won on Monday night. 

The Brooklyn GM said that he understood why people were upset and he was disappointed in the whole thing.  

“I’m completely empathetic to what’s going on here,” Marks said. “I’m certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in. I would like to turn ESPN or the TV on and not find you talking about us in that manner, to be quite frank. I’d like to get back to basketball.”

The NBA and the Nets organization released statements last week condemning any sort of hate speech, including antisemitism, and team owner Joe Tsai rebuked Irving’s post publically in a statement of his own on Twitter. The NBA Players Association also released a statement on Tuesday afternoon condemning antisemitism and pledging to combat hate speech. 

Irving has not faced any sort of supplementary discipline or fine from the league or the Nets. When asked why that had been the case, Marks sidestepped the question a bit saying that those conversations had been going on behind the scenes

He added that they were “just trying to lay out exactly what the best course of action is here.” 

However, that hasn’t meant putting some space between Irving and the team. He played in all three games since the controversy started and there didn’t appear to be any plans to keep him out of the lineup going forward. 

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The only thing Irving won’t be doing is speaking publicly in order to let cool heads prevail, Marks said. The Nets star did address reporters following Saturday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers and Irving remained defiant in his stance about his right to post what he wanted which led to a tense exchange with the media.

I think everybody knows he’s going to have to answer these questions at some point,” Marks said. “He hasn’t sort of shied away in the past, but I think the last postgame meeting didn’t go well and I think we’re not trying to cover it up. I think this is something that needs to be addressed, but let’s address it in the right form and fashion.”