Nets' Kyrie Irving Fined $25K for Directing Obscene Language Toward Cavaliers Fan

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 19: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 19, 2022 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA fined Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving $25,000 "for directing obscene language toward a fan."

A video of the interaction went viral. A Cleveland Cavaliers fan was heckling Irving in Cleveland's 114-107 victory over the Nets on Monday.

The seven-time All-Star responded that he "got y'all a championship and motherf--kers still ungrateful." (warning: video contains profanity):

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kyrie chirped back at this Cavs fan heckling him. 🍿👀<br><br>(via _willswish/IG) <a href="https://t.co/qAObz6tSUO">pic.twitter.com/qAObz6tSUO</a>

A $25,000 fine is a drop in the bucket for a player who earns $34.9 million, and a slap on the wrist is a punishment befitting a rather innocuous offense. Irving may not have used the best choice of words, but fans can't expect to insult athletes without potentially getting a response.

Irving's relationship with Cavaliers fans will probably always be a bit complicated.

The 6'2" guard hit the biggest shot in franchise history in the 2016 NBA Finals, giving the Cavs their first title and ending Cleveland's lengthy championship drought. Over the series, he averaged 27.1 points and 3.9 assists.

LeBron James was rightfully honored as the Finals MVP that year, but the triumph doesn't come without Irving performing like he did.

However, the 29-year-old burned a lot of goodwill in Northeast Ohio when he engineered his exit from the Cavaliers in the summer of 2017. He proceeded to call Boston "a real, live sports city," a not-so-subtle dig at the city of Cleveland.

Irving has become a polarizing figure as well because of his COVID-19 vaccination status and comments on the vaccine.

Over time, any anger from Cavs fans toward Irving could fade. He's a franchise legend, one who deserves to have his No. 2 jersey hanging in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

For now, four-plus years obviously isn't enough to mend fences.