Following a series of rapid fire news breaks around noon Friday, it appears the Nets, Kyrie Irving, the NBA and the players union are nearing a resolution of issues surrounding his promotion of an antisemitic video last month. Topping off the news breaks was a revelation by Joe Tsai that he and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai, had met with Irving and his family Thursday ... two days after Irving had met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The news suggests that Irving may be reinstated from his suspension soon, although there is skepticism that things could be resolved by end of the Nets road trip on Thursday. After his five-game suspension ends vs. the Clippers Saturday, Brooklyn plays the Lakers on Sunday, the Kings on Tuesday and the Trailblazers Thursday in Portland. The Nets return home for a big game vs. the Grizzlies at Barclays Center a week from Sunday.
The Nets suspended Irving for five games a week ago but also set out a number of requirements for him to meet before he could return. Failure to meet them could delay his return, the Nets said.
The news broke in a series of tweets over a 15 minute span starting at around noon. It began with Adrian Wojnarowski and ended with Tsai tweeting, “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”
On Thursday, Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, had hinted the league and NBA were working with Irving on the issue. At an event in Washington, Silver said “It is being discussed at this time ... the Nets are looking to make this into a partnership between them and Kyrie as to what remediation is appropriate.”
Woj began it with three tweets at noon...
Suspended guard Kyrie Irving has met with the Brooklyn Nets, NBA and NBPA “on several occasions” in recent days and the union “(looks) forward very soon to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties,” @TheNBPA tells players in an email obtained by ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2022
The NBPA maintains to its membership that “Kyrie’s rights, and the rights of all future players, have been protected at every turn.” In memo, the NBPA reiterates to players that Irving and union “unequivocally condemn antisemitism and all other forms of hate…”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2022
Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games for failing to initially condemn antisemitic material shared to his social media. There’s skepticism Irving will be in position to return to play as soon as Sunday vs. Lakers, or perhaps even Tuesday vs. Kings, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2022
Following the Woj tweets, Jacque Vaughn and Nets players were asked about the news at the team’s morning practice which was underway at the time. Vaughn declined comment, saying “No update organizationally,” adding that the “majority of my effort is with this group right now.”
Players, particularly Nic Claxton, were not so reserved. Claxton noted that he has been speaking with Irving and that he is in “high spirits, just trying to figure everything out” Royce O’Neale similarly described Irving as in “good spirits.”
Claxton endorsed a quick return for his teammate, telling reporters, “I feel like once we get [Irving] back, the way we’re playing right now, it’s going to break the game wide open,” Claxton said. “He can adapt to any system. That’s 30 points we’re missing out there.”
O’Neale added that he thought that Irving could mesh with the Nets new wide-open game.
“The same way we’ve been doing. He’s a great player, an All-Star. I mean, I feel like we can adapt to whoever. We know he brings what to the table and we need that going forward.”
Then, 15 minutes after the first Woj tweet, Tsai dropped his news, posting about how he and Clara Wu Tsai had met with Irving and his family Thursday and that he, like Silver on Thursday, said he believes that Irving does not harbor antisemitic beliefs and that he hopes things can be resolved in the spirit of “forgiveness, healing and education.”
The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022
Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday. We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022
The bottom line appears to be that all sides want to avoid more public discussion of the issue, hoping that a compromise can be reached and the ugliness of the last two weeks can be put to rest. Silver said Thursday that the controversy had caused “enormous damage” to Irving, the Nets and the league itself. By reaching a compromise, an appeal of the extension by the NBPA could also be avoided.
This does not suggest that the “remedial” process, as Silver described it Thursday, will be abandoned, but perhaps take a different form. The Nets conditions include a $500,000 contribution to anti-hate efforts, a more fulsome apology and condemnation of the video, antisemitic and sensitivity training.
In a later report for ESPN, Woj said Irving is “expected to engage with a number of constituencies — including meeting with leaders in the Jewish community — and make good-faith efforts to show the Nets and NBA of his sincerity before he’s cleared for a return to play.”
Of course, Irving has a history of off-court issues that have been controversial from suggesting the earth is flat to the refusing the COVID-19 vaccine in the face of a city mandate. Will there be another?
- Sources: Resolution soon on Kyrie Irving; no momentum for road trip return - Adrian Wojnarowski - ESPN
- Kyrie Irving meets with Joe Tsai in significant step for Nets return - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Joe Tsai meets with Kyrie Irving, says Nets star does not have ‘beliefs of hate towards Jewish people’ - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets owner Joe Tsai doesn’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic - Denis Gorman - Newsday
- Nets owner Joe Tsai says Kyrie Irving ‘does not have any beliefs of hate toward Jewish people’ - The Athletic
- NBA players’ union expects ‘a resolution’ to Kyrie Irving’s suspension ‘very soon’ - Ben Rohrbach - Yahoo! Sports
- Nets Owner Joe Tsai Issues Statement After Kyrie Irving Meeting - Mike McDaniel - Sports Illustrated
- ADAM SILVER, NETS OWNER JOE TSAI BOTH CALL KYRIE NOT ANTISEMITIC - TMZ