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Raissman: Time for Stephen A. Smith to let go of Kyrie Irving obsession, shift to Joe Tsai, Sean Marks

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

New York Daily News media critic Bob Raissman has decided he’s had enough of Stephen A. Smith’s diatribes against Kyrie Irving, not because he agrees with Irving’s position on vaccination. No, it’s because he believes Smith is obsessed with Irving and it would be better if he shifted his criticism to Nets ownership and management.

Smith, of course, has railed on Irving for weeks and weeks, complaining that Irving’s recent part-time status fits into a pattern of absences. Here’s one of Smith’s latest (in which he briefly mentions his own recent hospitalization with COVID) ...

Of course, the most vociferous exchanges have been between Smith and Jay Williams, who is among Irving’s most consistent advocates and who Smith has called an “apologist.” Raissman writes of those back-and-forths...

Give Williams some credit. There are very few ESPN mouths who flap back after Smith accuses Irving of being a habitual slacker who is now using COVID restrictions as his latest excuse to avoid playing. Among the examples SAS offers are the times Irving took a pass when he was “emotionally preoccupied” during times of social unrest.

SAS has referred to Irving as “not accountable” and “not reliable” adding: “I would never give him a long-term contract. You would be wondering if he will show up for work.” Williams drew Smith’s rage after taking issue with his stance on Irving, saying his conclusion is not fair. “I don’t give a damn if it’s a big issue with you,” a dismissive Smith told Williams on “First Take.” “I don’t give a damn what you think about Kyrie Irving. I spit facts, facts.”

Raissman disputes whether Smith’s “facts” are actually opinions, taking specific aim at Smith’s oft-repeated contention that a Nets title would be “bad for basketball.”

Moreover, Raissman says Smith should get off Irving’s back and look at Joe Tsai and Sean Marks who relented in the face of injuries and (Ironically) the rise in COVID-related health and safety protocols and let Irving play on the road.

What about Tsai and GM Sean Marks? If SAS has such major problems with Irving, why isn’t he also flexing his mouth at Irving’s enablers?

Maybe SAS can bring them into the equation the next time he decides to bloviate on the topic.

Judging by how obsessed he is with Kyrie Irving, there will be a next time … and a next time ... and a ...

And no — and this is somewhere between a fact and opinion — this debate is nowhere near an end.