May 20, 2024


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4. Kyrie Irving

Image for article titled IDIOT OF THE MONTH: 'Tis the season to be stupid

Illustration: Getty Images

Hopefully, this is the final month that Kyrie Irving earns this “honor.”

Make no mistake, he will be on next month’s Idiot of the Year list. We will release our 2022 Wrapped on Kyrie then, but for now, the focus will be narrowed on him putting his career in serious jeopardy this month.

All Kyrie had to do was say “I’m sorry,” the first time.

When he tweeted out the link to that vile documentary, he was combative when asked about it at a press conference. The next week he spoke in a media scrum, and all he had to do was say I’m sorry, and when asked if he is antisemitic respond, “no.”

If he does that, the controversy quickly fades away and he misses no time on the court. Instead, he hovered the plane around the runway, but never landed it, putting himself in a dangerous situation.

He spent five minutes of that scrum talking down to the media, but at least said that he isn’t a Holocaust denier. Kyrie discussed how he’s reading, and trying to learn more — and used that offensive “if you want to hide it from a Black person, keep it in a book” phrase — but he’s a young man trying to find himself and seeking knowledge. He just happens to keep seeking it in the wrong places.

Then Nick Friedell asked Kyrie for a yes or no answer on if he’s antisemitic. His response: “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

The only worse answer would’ve been yes. Of course, that highlight went far more viral than everything else said, but that was with good reason. His response to Friedell’s question was both obtuse and offensive. It left the Nets with no choice but to suspend him until they could be sure that he would never say anything like that again.

Did the Nets take it too far with that public list of benchmarks he had to reach to be allowed back on the floor? Yes. He had to be corrected, but they went further than that. Their goal was also to shame him.

Kyrie was suspended for eight games. He was reinstated for the Brooklyn Nets’ win on Nov. 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies. He appeared to express genuine remorse and received some solid information. Maybe he learned enough to avoid this list next year. [Editor’s note: We’ll see about that.]