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New home, same problems. All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is still having to answer to the NBA media for months-old controversies regarding his sharing of a controversial film on social media.
Despite having been traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, seemingly putting his troubles during his time in Brooklyn behind him, the media is still pouncing on Irving for controversies that have zero ties to basketball.
Media Demands More Apologies From Kyrie
Irving thought he was free from all the talk until an introductory news conference Tuesday showed that the media still expects Kyrie to feel shame for the bloated controversy.
After deleting an Instagram post requested by Nets owner Joe Tsai which apologized to the Jewish community for having shared the link to “Hebrew to Negroes,” reporters started pressing Irving on why he decided to remove the post and asking if he was still sorry.
Disregarding all of the apologies that came beforehand and the positive discussions Irving had with the Anti-Defamation League, the media is proving that its issues with him are all narrative.
RELATED: ESPN REPORTER BEGS NETS’ KYRIE IRVING TO APOLOGIZE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
“I delete a lot of things on my Instagram,” Irving told reporters during the press session.
“I’ve had things that have happened before in my life, probably not as drastic as that moment, which led to a lot of confusion and uncertainty I felt like about what I meant and what I stand for. I had to sit up with these mics and explain to the world who I am, and I know who I am.
“I delete things all the time, and it’s no disrespect to anyone within the community. Just living my life.”
- Oct. 27, 2022 – Kyrie Posts Link To “Hebrew To Negroes”
- Nov. 3, 2022 – Nets Suspend Kyrie Irving Over Controversial Film
- Nov. 20, 2022 – Nets Re-Activate Kyrie Irving After Completing Six Steps
Joe Tsai’s Problems With Kyrie
Joe Tsai, whose ties to China’s human rights violations have yet to perk the media’s attention, laid out six steps for Kyrie Irving to fulfill in order to play basketball again following the claims of antisemtisim.
Clay Travis on Joe Tsai, WATCH:
Irving complied with the request but was still held to an eight-game suspension.
Those steps included removing the tweet with the movie link, meeting with the ADL and posting a public apology, which was the Instagram post in question Tuesday.
Irving has continuously aired his intentions by posting the link to the film, citing a stance related to his Islamic faith.
Tsai hardly supported Irving in his stances off the court, creating acrimony that resulted in trading the player to Dallas. The rift first started when Irving stood against the vaccine mandate, prompting the team to indefinitely suspend Kyrie, even when New York City’s vaccine ordinance did not interfere.
Irving missed 53 games (unpaid) last season as a result. Irving was reportedly seeking a contract extension, but when the Nets didn’t make an offer he approved of he demanded to be traded. Other reports suggested Irving was prepared to sit out the season if he wasn’t dealt.
Reports following the trade even suggested that Tsai sent Irving to Dallas instead of the Los Angeles Lakers (Kyrie’s preferred destination) to spite the player.
The Narrative On Kyrie Is All Scandal, No Basketball
To any reasonable basketball fan, Irving’s stances off the court had little impact on his All-Star-level contributions, but Tsai and the media incited a campaign against him that’s present to this day.
Unwilling to relent to the media’s narrative now that he has more leeway in Dallas, Kyrie pushed back against the questioning Tuesday — calling out the media for stoking the flames during the Anti-Semitism controversy and the vaccine saga.
“I did it because I care about my family, and I have Jewish members of my family that care about me deeply.
“Did the media know that beforehand when they called me that word, anti-Semitic? No. Did they know anything about my family?
“No. Everything was assumed, everything was put out before I had anything to say, and I reacted instead of responding emotionally maturely. I didn’t mean to be defensive or go at anybody, so I stand by my apology and I stand by my people, everywhere, all walks of life, all races, all religions, same thing.”
It was a prime example of the stance that Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka took when a reporter started pressing her on political topics rather than tennis, prompting the two-time Australian Open star to clap back against the media.
And as more athletes get held to an unfair standard by the media, more will be adamant on pushing back.
They can’t let go of their narrative.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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