It is what is.
On Monday night, new video of Kyrie Irving emerged online, showing him, his sister and his father celebrating Asia’s 30th birth and Drederick’s 55th this weekend. Irving, of course, is on what the Nets have described as “personal leave.”
Videos have surfaced of Kyrie Irving at a large birthday gathering alongside his sister, Asia.— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) January 12, 2021
Kyrie’s sister & dad have birthdays this week.
Given the size of the gathering & now public nature of it, Kyrie might now have to undergo a quarantine period before returning. https://t.co/McrYtFH9XK pic.twitter.com/U4T1KAvMTl
Although some, including on Reddit, suggested that the party took place in, of all places, Toronto (!), and that he was with, of all people, Drake (!!), Rob Perez, aka WorldWide Rob, aka Sherwob Holmes, went frame-by-frame, and checked social media. He determined the party took place this past weekend in a much more mundane venue, a club in West Orange, NJ, the Irvings’ home town.
Wobvestigation: the facts surrounding the leaked Kyrie Irving video pic.twitter.com/ZSH5MeshHx— Sherwob Holmes (@WorldWideWob) January 12, 2021
So what to make of it? It’s hard to determine, even with Perez’s sleuthing, how many attended the party (which matters), whether this is considered a “social gathering” (which matters). The party would appear to be governed by this specific NBA health and safety protocol...
While in their team’s home market, team personnel will be prohibited from going to bars, lounges or clubs, from attending live entertainment or sports events, from using gyms, spas or pools, or from participating in social gatherings with more than 15 people. (Emphasis added.)
We also don’t know if Irving discussed the event with the league or the Nets prior to planning it (which no doubt was in the works for weeks, if not months). We do know Irving is continuing to get tested daily, even during his personal leave, according to Steve Nash.
Will the league investigate the party? Require Irving to quarantine upon his return-to-play? Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews of ESPN report that they “expect” the league to “examine” the video.
Irving has missed four consecutive games for personal reasons, been ruled out tonight vs. Denver and sources expect him to continue to be sidelined at least through Wednesday (Knicks) and Saturday (Orlando) games. https://t.co/cPemTB0eHi— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
Later, Marc Stein reported that the review has indeed begun ... and that if it was determined he violated safety and health protocols, he will face heavy fines.
The NBA has formally opened a review of videos that appear to show the Nets' Kyrie Irving at a recent party without a mask— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 12, 2021
If Irving misses any games due to what is ruled a protocols violation, he would be subject to a fine of more than $460,000 per game ... 1/72 of his salary
Frank Isola, who serves as a YES Network analyst, also raised the possibility that Irving’s absence may be long term.
The Kyrie Irving situation continues to get worse and worse. Does he plan on ever returning to the team and if so is he all in or will he just decide to skip a block of games?— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) January 12, 2021
There is also a great deal of online commentary on whether Irving should be celebrating while (reportedly) protesting the horrors of last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol and the obvious disparity between how the overwhelmingly white rioters were treated compared to how blacks like Breonna Taylor have been gunned down.
There is no doubt the optics are bad, but there is no requirement that anyone who is protesting political and social issues avoid family milestones nor wear a figurative hairshirt in their daily life.
We have asked Irving’s spokesperson for comment.