Kyrie Irving tweeted out a link to an antisemitic documentary over the weekend. The Brooklyn Nets guard came under wave after wave of scrutiny for this, something that was made worse when he met with the media and was asked why he did this. Instead of doing anything that could be viewed as showing contrition for that or for a number of other recent social media posts, Irving refused to back down.
Unsurprisingly, the Inside the NBA crew had plenty to say about Irving on Tuesday, with Charles Barkley going as far as to say that the NBA made a mistake in not doing anything in response outside of posting a statement that did not explicitly name him.
“I think he should have been suspended. Adam Silver should have suspended him. They made a mistake. I can’t believe we’re talking about this idiot.”
Charles Barkley on Kyrie Irving#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/dnlykjx6i4
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— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) November 1, 2022
“I think the NBA dropped the ball,” Barkley said. “I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam should’ve suspended him. First of all, Adam’s Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion. You’re gonna insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ‘No, you’re not gonna take my $40 million and insult my religion.’
“I think the NBA, they made a mistake,” he continued. “We have suspended people and fined people who have made homophobic slurs, and that was the right thing to do. I think if you insult the Black community, you should be suspended or fined heavily depending — I saw they did the same thing to the kid in Minnesota this year when he made the gay slur. I think you should get suspended or fined.”
Barkley went on to say he believed that something needed to happen for Irving acknowledging “the Alex Jones thing,” referencing the time Irving put an old clip of the right-wing media personality on his Instagram page in which Jones discussed the existence of secret societies in America. While Irving said he did not endorse Jones’ comments on things like the Sandy Hook mass shooting being a hoax, he said the clip he posted to Instagram was accurate.
“I can’t believe that we ain’t talking about basketball, we’re talking about this idiot,” Barkley said. “If I say, ‘Hey, I’m agreeing with this movie, this book, or whatever,’ I’m agreeing with it. You know I don’t do any social media, but when you’re somebody as great as basketball as him, people gonna listen to what you say.”
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While Ernie Johnson attempted to say that conversations are ongoing about Irving, Barkley made clear that he thinks these are for naught.
“The reason it’s too late, the NBA’s giving into peer pressure,” Barkley said. “If one of our players do something, they have the right — the team or the league has to do something immediately. If you just give into peer pressure, that’s the problem I have. This should have been handled already.”
Shaquille O’Neal was likewise critical of Irving, saying that he dislikes when they have to discuss things that are divisive.
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“Now we gotta answer for what this idiot has done,” Shaq said. “I stand for equality of all people, I’ve always been like that — don’t matter what religion, don’t matter where you’re from.”
He continued to excoriate Irving for making him have to “answer questions for what he’s done” before summing up his thoughts on Irving succinctly: “It’s obvious, by his answers and the way he answered, he doesn’t really care.”