Charles Barkley Believes NBA ‘Dropped Ball’ On Nets Star Kyrie Irving

Shaquille O'Neal had a more blunt statement on the Nets guard


Nov 1, 2022

Kyrie Irving was not suspended prior to the Nets’ matchup against the Chicago Bulls, and one NBA Hall of Famer believes that was a missed opportunity by the NBA.

Things are not looking too well in Brooklyn as Steve Nash was fired as head coach days after his now former All-Star point guard made headlines by going at it with a reporter for posting an anti-Semitic film on his Twitter account. Irving deleted the tweet Monday, but NBA fans have let their voices be heard. The All-Star guard did not speak to media before Tuesday’s game.

The Nets-Bulls game was broadcasted on TNT, which meant the “Inside the NBA” crew handled pregame. Charles Barkley is renowned for “telling it like it is,” and the Hall of Famer let his opinion known Tuesday night.

“I think the NBA dropped the ball,” Barkley said, per Twitter video. “I think he should have been suspended. I think (NBA commissioner) Adam (Silver) should have suspended him. First of all, Adam’s Jewish, you can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion. If you’re gonna insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ‘No, you’re not going to take my $40 million an insult my religion.’ I think the NBA, they made a mistake. We have suspended 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. … I think him acknowledging the Alex Jones things, something should have happened with that, too, because that dude’s crazy.”

Ernie Johnson pointed out the situation was being looked into heading into Tuesday’s game and Irving could still be suspended or fined, but Barkley noted if a decision was made after the weekend’s events, it would mean the NBA is giving into “peer pressure.”

Barkley also noted Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards was fined $40,000 for his use of an anti-gay slur on social media. The NBA has a history of at least fining players for using offensive language.

Last season, Irving’s teammate, Kevin Durant was fined $50,000 when actor Michael Rapoport revealed offensive language sent to him through direct message, but the Nets star was not suspended. But former Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard was suspended and fined for using of an anti-Semitic slur last season. The 30-year-old was required to participate in a cultural diversity program during his suspension.

In 2015, Rajon Rondo was fined $25,000 for repeatedly shouting anti-gay slurs at referee Bill Kennedy, and in 2011, Kobe Bryant was fined $100,00 for a similar act.

Shaquille O’Neal reiterated Barkley’s point of calling Irving an “idiot” and said he stood for the equality of all people while also stating he felt they did not have to answer for Irving’s actions.

Jacque Vaughn took over as interim head coach of the Nets as Brooklyn is reportedly in talks with Ime Udoka to bring the former assistant back to Brooklyn. The Boston Celtics head coach was suspended by the team for the whole season for violating team policies.

Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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