Steve Nash told national and local reporters Saturday that he “hasn’t addressed” Kyrie Irving’s boycott of media —or his apparent reference to reporters as “pawns,” but is prepared to talk with his point guard if he feels that would be valuable.
“I haven’t addressed it with him,” Nash said in answer to a question on the issue from ESPN’s Malika Andrews, before adding a comment on how Irving has been playing in camp. “He’s been unbelievable in camp. He’s been playing at an extremely high level. He’s been a leader.
“While he may not be in your guy’s good books, he’s in my good books so I am enjoying coaching him. He’s been unbelievable but if he sees my thoughts or wants to discuss it, I am more than happy to discuss it with him. I have not had that conversation with him.”
Nash seemed to suggest the issue —which has already cost the Nets and Kyrie $25,000 each in league fines — isn’t something he sees as part of his job. He also said that he doesn’t know why Kyrie feels the way he does with the media.
“I don’t,” Nash said. “To be honest, I am trying to learn my position as well right now. I’m definitely focusing in on our process here of implementing all of our schemes, sets, scenarios, and starting to kind of schedule those things out. Hitting the film everyday so i haven’t got into the off-the-court stuff yet.”
When asked specifically if it was the case that he doesn’t know what set Irving off or whether he has an idea of when he’ll resume his media responsibilities.
“That is accurate,” Nash replied.
It was the first time any Nets executive has spoken about the issue. Last Friday, Irving issued a statement saying he wouldn’t meet with the media and suggested his statement would have to suffice. The statement read in part...
“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.”
Later, his spokesperson told reporters that they should not consider the boycott either blanket or one-time, but part of a non-traditional media strategy.
“This doesn’t mean he won’t do traditional media. He has every intent on building a mutually respectful relationship with the media. This is his first attempt to communicate directly/effectively with the people who cover him the most.”
Then, after the fine —for failing to meet media obligations on “several occasions, Irving seemed to double down on his position, writing on Instagram nstagram story that quoted Malcolm X and seemed to portray media as “pawns” not worthy of his time.
“I do not talk to pawns, my attention is worth more,” he wrote on the IG story. Although there have been reports that irving did not specifically mean the media are “pawns,” Irving has not yet suggested that himself.
No word on when Irving might speak again to reporters, but the media will have access, even if by Zoom, for Sunday’s preseason game vs. the Wizards. Irving did announce that he will be live Saturday at 9:36 p.m. ET on Instagram.
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