As Greg Logan first reported in Newsday Friday night, Kyrie Irving’s decision not to speak to reporters during “Media Week” is part of a “non-traditional” media relations strategy and that the Nets point guard anticipates doing media during the season. That would suggest that the Nets guard will engage with the press before and after games and after practice.
None of this precludes Irving making other statements at other points during the season. His media strategy is open-ended.
While others read Irving’s statement, issued Friday afternoon as saying he plans to boycott the media for the 2020-21 season, Logan reached out to spokespersons for the Nets and Irving, quoting them as saying Irving’s decision to issue a statement rather than take questions this week was not some blanket media boycott.
Although Irving confirmed in his statement that he declined the opportunity to do a media interview on Friday, a Nets spokesman said it would be a mistake to assume he will not speak to the media this season.
In response to a Newsday query, Irving’s publicist said: “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.”
Indeed, Irving’s statement was ambiguous about his plans for the rest of the season. 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.”
The NBA standard player contract requires players to engage with the media. The NBA can fine players who don’t meet the requirements as well as their teams.
Irving has had a troubled relationship with the media over the years. Most recently, he suggested writers unfairly seized on comments he made about Kevin Durant being the first teammate he can see as “the best option.” in a clutch situation. That was taken by pundits as a slap at LeBron James, which Irving denied. He went on Instagram not long after and called the reading of his comments a “false narrative” created for a “clickbait society.”
And in his last Tweet, from October 1, Irving criticized the media regarding the issue, saying he wasn’t going to “let it put me against anyone anymore at any point.”
- Kyrie Irving’s statement ‘doesn’t mean he won’t do traditional media’ during Nets season - Scott Thompson - SNY
- Report: ‘Would be a mistake to assume’ Kyrie Irving won’t speak to media in 2020-21 - Nick Friar - USA Today
- Brooklyn Nets Star Kyrie Irving Should Fulfill His Media Obligations Just Like Everyone Else - Mike Mazzeo - Forbes Sports Money