Though Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving has managed to return from a suspension that stemmed from him promoting anti-Semitic media, the topic is still on the mind of NBA legend and analyst Charles Barkley.
Barkley has been a vocal critic of Irving as of late, and he recently expanded the scope of his critique. Barkley spoke out against NBA players and league commissioner Adam Silver for taking it easy on Irving.
He did so during a recent podcast appearance.
“I went right after Kyrie because what he said was wrong,” he said. “It was inappropriate. And I went at Adam Silver, who I really like. I said, ‘You should have suspended him a week ago.’ … Adam especially, him being Jewish, to insult your religion, and I’m paying you $40 million a year?
“… And I was disappointed in the players for not standing up, saying something. You can’t just get upset when something happens against the Black community if you’re Black.”
It is certainly a strong message, and fans know that Barkley is not one to mince his words.
Irving’s suspension came after he shared a link to a film containing anti-Semitic propaganda and then failed to apologize when prompted by media members. He was given a list of things he had to do in order to return to the court, and he reportedly went above and beyond what was asked of him.
He recently took the time to clarify his beliefs and make it clear that he does not have any hate for the Jewish community.
“I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech or antisemitism or anything that is going against the human race,” Irving said. “I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us and I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions, because there was a way I should have handled all this and as I look back and reflect when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted, that wasn’t my intent at all.”
Irving has started in three straight games since his return to the court and looked pretty solid. He’s averaged 22.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest in those three games. The Nets are 2-1 over their last three.
When it comes to how the Nets have been looking as of late, winning has been easier to come by for the squad than it was at the beginning of the season. The Nets started 2-6 in their first eight games but have started to claw back in the standings.
They’re currently 9-10 on the season, good for the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets have a chance to get to .500 on the season on Friday, as they’ll take on the Indiana Pacers.