We've been pointing out the double standards NBA players have had for a while now, and the latest Kyrie Irving situation is the most blatant example of it. When Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver were caught making disparaging remarks about an entire group of people, LeBron James led the way with “there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior.” But when Kyrie Irving promotes a movie that does the same, as Reggie Miller points out - crickets.
Reggie Miller calls out NBA players
One of the things The Last Dance reminded us of was the criticism Michael Jordan got for staying out of a political race in North Carolina. It was connected to his “republicans buy sneakers too” comment, painting a picture of a man who put profits over principles. But there's a different prism to that moment - maybe MJ understood once you enter the political arena and make a moral stand on an issue, you can't get out.
Reggie Miller brought that up during last night's broadcast on TNT’s Nets-Bulls broadcast. The Pacers legend made it clear the deafening silence from the players is a problem.
“The players have dropped the ball on this case when it’s been one of their own. It’s been crickets,” Miller said. “And it’s disappointing because this league has been built on the shoulders of the players being advocates. Right is right and wrong is wrong. And if you’re gonna call out owners, and rightfully so, then you’ve got to call out players as well. You can’t go silent in terms of this for Kyrie Irving. I want to hear the players and their strong opinions as well, just as we heard about Robert Sarver and Donald Sterling.”
The only comment from the players' side has been a shamefully vague press release from the NBPA that did not mention Kyrie Irving by name and didn't call for any reaction from the NBA, compared to their statements on Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver.
Remember when Draymond Green said he wants the owners to vote so we can all find out who's for kicking out Robert Sarver after his racist and sexist actions and words came out? It was lauded as a bold move by Green.
Fortunately for Draymond, he can practice what he preaches. As a member of the NBPA, he can start a petition to have a vote about their vice-president Kyrie Irving and his tweet that promoted "Hebrews to Negroes," a movie and book that is full of anti-semitic tropes. I'm looking forward to the vote.
But the players aren't the only ones who have been silent on the issue. Charles Barkley made sure the NBA League Office doesn't get a free pass on this one.
Charles Barkley calls out the NBA and Adam Silver
The Nets have shown tremendous weakness by not suspending Kyrie, at least until the issue is examined. But the NBA has been silent as well. Adam Silver has the authority to act, yet there has been no action. As always, Charles Barkley didn't beat around the bush.
“I think the NBA dropped the ball. He should’ve been suspended. Adam [Silver] should’ve suspended him. ... The NBA made a mistake. We have suspended and fined people who made homophobic slurs, and that was the right thing to do. If you insult the black community, you should be suspended or fined. Him [Kyrie] acknowledging the Alex Jones thing, something should've happened too, 'cause that dude's crazy. ” Barkley added.
Charles started to finish his point by saying that Irving should've been suspended when Earnie jumped in to defend the league. ”Conversations are continuing, with the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA. How do we move forward...” Chuck didn't let him finish and made a crucial point.
Barkley's point is simple - if the NBA had honest intentions to react to Kyrie, they would've done it by now. Everything that happens today, tomorrow, next Monday, or whenever is just PR damage control. If we are to believe the NBA stands for equality and justice, then they have to act on it before it becomes a PR nightmare.