by Brandon Reiter
Brooklyn Nets star, Kyrie Irving, became the second celebrity endorser to be dropped by a major shoe brand in the last week, following in the steps of Kanye West.
Since his arrival in Brooklyn over two years ago, Kyrie has been nothing but a cancer for the team and his teammates. Before Brooklyn, he ruffled feathers in Boston during his short tenure as a Celtic, where he insisted that the world may be flat. Prior to Boston, Kyrie won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, before demanding to be traded away from Lebron James on the heels of four straight NBA Finals appearances.
Irving has seemingly always prided himself on utilizing his platform to spread his views with his followers, but the problem is that he continuously talks out of both sides of his mouth. He thinks he is smarter than everyone, and it takes endless begging to get an apology out of him. In 2017, when he made headlines after claiming the earth is flat, Kyrie defended himself by saying, “I do research on both sides. I’m not against anyone that thinks the Earth is round. I’m not against anyone that thinks it’s flat. I just love hearing the debate.” Oh really, Kyrie? You’re not against anyone who thinks the earth is round?! Good for you! Because, well the earth is indeed round.
Many months later, Irving apologized for offending the science community and even said that it was a good lesson of how words that come from influential people can have enormous power. Hmmm.
Kyrie saying the earth is flat, albeit hilariously dumb, is not the main point here. Kyrie explicitly noted at that time that debating conspiracy theories can have a large impact on his followers, given the magnitude and influence of his platforms. Clearly, like the earth being round, Kyrie did not actually believe that either.
Suffice it to say things did not go well for Irving in Boston, and his weird conspiracy rhetoric did not stop there. As a Brooklyn Net, Kyrie again began to make headlines for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s not simply the fact he refused to take it, it’s why. Many notable people have refused to take the vaccine for various religious and political beliefs, but Kyrie? Well he started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for ‘a plan of Satan.’ Kyrie was unable to play in any Brooklyn Nets home games for the 2021 season due to a NY mandate, and the Nets went on to get swept by his former team, Boston, in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, less than a year later, Kyrie finds himself back on the hot seat after posting a link to a documentary that is anti-Semitic propaganda including the notion that the Holocaust never happened. When questioned by the media originally, Kyrie actually said that him posting it on his platform is not promoting it, and that the media should treat him like a human being. But I thought he understood the lesson on the impact of his words when it comes to political theories? Guess not.
The Nets are the gold standard when it comes to handling PR crisis’s in the absolute worst way possible. They did not suspend him immediately, nor did they mention him in their original press release apologizing to those who were offended. Brooklyn Nets owner, Joseph Tsai, actually tried to educate Kyrie on the offensiveness of the documentary and that the Holocaust did indeed happen. But apparently Tsai’s efforts were futile, as the Nets finally suspended Kyrie saying that he is currently “unfit to be associated” with the Brooklyn Nets.
But let’s get one thing straight here, Nets. Kyries is not just currently unfit to be associated with a basketball franchise located in the most Jewish populated city in THE WORLD outside of Israel, he will always be unfit. This incident is not just a one time mistake, it is a pattern. A pattern that suggests giving Kyrie a large platform to spread his wildly inaccurate theories that pose a threat to people is not a good idea.
Not long after the Nets announced their suspension, Nike announced that they too were suspending their relationship with Irving, and that they would not be releasing his upcoming signature shoe.
Kyrie has been able to remain on the court despite his controversial views in the past, but it is looking like this may be the straw that breaks the camels back. The guy is extremally talented at basketball, but he can’t be worth all the drama he brings with him. The Nets should permanently cut ties with him showing their fans that they will not let people who put out such threatening propaganda deserve to represent their team. Hopefully the NBA will step in, who is run by Adam Silver (Jewish), if the Nets don’t penalize Irving any further.
While it has been terrible seeing anti-Semitic propaganda take over the headlines there is a nice silver lining that it will cost you millions, your reputation, and possibly your career. Tsai and the Nets have allegedly given Irving a “to do” list of myriad apologies and donations before he can resume playing, but Kyrie has hinted that he may just consider retiring.