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Kyrie Irving’s portrayal of media as ‘pawns’ is point guard’s latest controversy

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Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving isn’t backing down. After being fined $25,000 for not meeting his media responsibilities, Irving on Friday posted an Instagram story that quoted Malcolm X and seemed to portray media as “pawns” not worthy of his time.

Here’s the IG story...

The message seemingly raised the stakes for Irving who now appears to be unambiguously on the record saying he’s not interested in talking with the media. However, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, who’s known to be close to Irving tweeted Friday night that Irving was not specifically referring to the media but instead “anybody who he believes is only going to use his words to ‘broadcast untrue or hateful shit.’”

Whether that’s the case or not, Irving’s relationship with the media has gotten off to a poor start.

At least one former teammate feels Irving has gone too far. In a discussion with Cleveland media, Kevin Love called the use of “pawns” a “sure sign of disrespect.”

“I’m sorry I’m getting deep with this like Kyrie does, but at the end of the day ... I just feel like every man, every woman is my superior and that I can learn with them. That’s just how my curiosity really works,” said Love. “And I don’t have fear with that. I’ve talked about not having prejudice with that, I try to live by those words. That’s how I feel. I think that calling anybody a ‘pawn’ is a sure sign of disrespect.”

The NBA fined him and the Nets $25,000 each Thursday, citing “Irving’s refusal on several occasions this week to participate in team media availability.” The NBA did not detail the number of times Irving refused to deal with the media. The Nets have been running near-daily Zoom calls for Nets and NBA media which have regularly attracted between 25 and 35 reporters, producers and bloggers.

Instead of participating in Media Week, the Nets point guard issued a statement at the beginning of the week explaining his position.

“Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is properly conveyed,” the statement said, in part. “I am committed to show up to work every day, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization.

“... My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself. Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

The statement was ambiguous as whether or how often Irving would participate in traditional media sessions and a statement from his spokesperson seem to suggest Irving was willing to deal with “traditional media” in the future.

Reporters across the board have criticized the original statement and now his characterization of the media as “pawns.”