Nets' Kyrie Irving on Fine for Media Policy Violation: 'I Do Not Talk to Pawns'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2020

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) takes the ball down court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in New York. The Nets defeated the Pistons 125-115. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving posted a statement Friday after he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to meet his preseason media obligations.

HoopsHype provided the full Instagram story post from Irving:

HoopsHype @hoopshype

Kyrie Irving on IG. https://t.co/hTtRsLC29s

NBA players are required by the league to answer questions at the beginning of training camp. Instead, the 28-year-old six-time All-Star released a statement through his a spokesperson last week:

Ryan Field @RyanFieldABC

Rather than talk to the media over Zoom... Kyrie Irving issued this statement instead. https://t.co/edmWxUTvAi

Irving has developed a strained relationship with the media across his nine-year career, and his discontentment with reporters was once again obvious in his latest Instagram post.

In March 2019, he told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes he felt the group manufactured drama but admitted learning to deal with the attention better was part of his growth as a star player.

"Being one of the top guys in the league, this all comes with it," Irving said. "It's a responsibility that I have to make sure that I know who I'm doing this for and know why I'm doing this. It's for the players that are coming behind me who will be in this league and setting an example for them on how to handle things and how to evolve within your career."

He added:

"The way I've handled things, it hasn't been perfect. I've made a lot of mistakes that I take full responsibility for. I apologize. I haven't done it perfectly. I haven't said the right things all the time. I don't want to sit on a place like I'm on a pedestal from anybody. I'm a normal human being that makes mistakes. For me, I think because of how fixated I was on trying to prove other people wrong, I got into a lot of habits that were bad, like reading stuff and reacting emotionally. That's just not who I am."

With the amount of attention around the Nets set to soar this year as the return of Kevin Durant is expected to vault the team toward title contention, a lot of eyes were on Irving heading into media day.

His refusal to answer questions drew the ire of the outspoken New York City media contingent, including Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who asked: "Has Irving no sense of the world beyond himself?"

It was a pointed one-liner since Irving previously suggested the Earth was flat. He later apologized for those remarks.

Irving may not be deterred by the league's punishment, though. He could hypothetically be fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media after each of the team's 72 regular-season games for a grand total of $1.8 million, or just 5.4 percent of his $33.5 million earnings for the 2020-21 campaign.

The Nets are scheduled to open the season Dec. 22 against the Golden State Warriors.