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The NBAPA isn’t on board with the specifics of Kyrie Irving’s punishment, but what did they have to say?

As speculation and public debate continue to intensify, the Players Association has now made it clear that they don’t like the look of things.

The NBAPA isn’t on board with the specifics of Kyrie Irving’s punishment, but what did they have to say?
Maddie MeyerAFP

In the wake of the mass amount of controversy that has resulted from Irving’s social media activity and his subsequent punishment, the league’s players association has now made it clear that its not on board with all that’s being dished out to the Nets star

NBAPA takes issue with Kyrie Irving’s punishment

According to reports, Boston Celtics forward, Jaylen Brown, who is also a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, has indicated that the union has issues with the varying requirements that have been outlined for Kyrie Irving’s reinstatement to the Brooklyn Nets. What’s more, is that the Players Association has stated its intention to appeal Irving’s suspension. During an interview on Monday, Brown disclosed that he had in fact been in discussion with Irving, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio about the situation.

“I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic,” Brown said. “I don’t think people in our governing bodies think he’s antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature. It’s sensitivity to the dialect around that. We don’t want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully the NBA feels the same way. There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it,” Brown said. “Some people will argue there’s no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There’s no language in our CBA. There’s no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody, and everybody is trying to figure out the difference between the two.”

What is Kyrie Irving facing?

Following immense amounts of media attention, social media debate and of course outright animosity towards, the league, team and player, the Nets announced Irving’s suspension on November 3rd. The Nets star was of course punished for posting a link to a documentary that contained antisemitic tropes and then in turn refusing to apologize for doing so. The team stated that his absence would last for a minimum of five games and that he would be required to fulfill a number of requirements before he could return to the court. Irving has since apologized for his part in the affair, but his suspension still stands, as do the requirements that he must meet. What are those requirements? Let’s take a look:

  • Apologize and condemn the film he promoted.
  • Make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes.
  • Complete sensitivity training.
  • Complete anti-semetism training.
  • Meet with the ADL and Jewish leaders.
  • Meet with team owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate an understanding of the situation.

Where is Kyrie Irving’s situation right now?

If you’ve been following, Irving did in fact make a $500K donation - alongside the Nets - to the Anti-Defamation League and as mentioned above, he’s since apologized for positing the link. In theory that’s two of the six requirements that he must meet. So far, the 7-time NBA All-Star has served two games of his suspension, which is to say he could potentially return on November 13th, when the Nets take on the Los Angeles Lakers. This, however, is where things get sticky. According to reports, the list of requirements was in fact created with the expectation that Irving would be unable to complete it, which in turn would greenlight his release. Whether that comes to pass or not remains to be seen, but what remains certain is that if the Players Association appeals his case, this situation will most definitely change. As things stand Irving and commissioner Silver are due to meet on Tuesday.

What has the NBAPA said about Kyrie Irving’s situation?

Prior to Brown’s comments, the Players Association had addressed Irving’s situation back on November 1st with an official statement, in which they condemned antisemitism, but interestingly, did not mention Irving by name. “Anti-Semitism has no place in our society,” the statement read. “The NBPA is focused on creating an environment where everyone is accepted. We are committed to helping players fully understand that certain words can lead to hateful ideologies being spread. We will continue to work on identifying and combating all hate speech wherever it arises.”

Where the present scenario is concerned, Brown i.e., the Players Association has taken the stance that Irving’s punishment is both random and excessive in nature, given the fact that there are nor concrete guidelines in place for scenarios like the one we’ve just witnessed. “The terms for his return, they seem like a lot, and a lot of the players expressed discomfort with the terms,” Brown said. “He made a mistake. He posted something. There was no distinction. Maybe we can move forward, but the terms in which he has to fulfill to return, I think not just speaking for me, speaking as a vice president from a lot of our players, we didn’t agree with the terms that was required for him to come back and we’re waiting for this Tuesday meeting to happen to see what comes of it. But we’ll go from there. That’s all I’ll say.”