Kyrie Irving Makes Controversial Decision Following Nets-Mavericks Trade

Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons

Getty Kyrie Irving (left), formerly of the Brooklyn Nets.

After his February 5 trade to the Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving deleted the Instagram post in which he apologized for a previous post that linked to a film containing antisemitic tropes, The Athletic’s Sam Amick noted February 7 on “The Athletic NBA Show.”

Irving had to address the post’s removal during his first meeting with the Dallas media, also on February 7.

“I delete a lot of things on my Instagram,” Irving told reporters. “I’ve had things that have happened before in my life — probably not as drastic as that moment — which led to a lot of confusion and uncertainty about what I meant and what I stand for. I had to sit up in front of these mikes and explain to the world who I am, and I know who I am. I delete things all the time, and it’s no disrespect to anyone in the community. Just living my life.”

Irving had apologized in a November 3 Instagram post to those offended by his October 27 post, which linked to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Irving was suspended for eight games by the Brooklyn Nets, who insisted he apologize as part of his reinstatement by the franchise.

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Kyrie Irving: Did the Media ‘Know Anything About My Family?’

Following his trade out of Brooklyn, Irving’s arrival in Dallas was perceived as a fresh start for him. But just days after the trade was forced to revisit a months-old controversy.

“I stand by who I am and why I apologized,” Irving, 30, said. “I did it because I care about my family, and I have Jewish members of my family who care for me deeply. Did the media know that beforehand before they called me that word, antisemitic? No. Did they know anything about my family? No. Everything was put out before I had anything to say. I reacted instead of responding emotionally, maturely. I didn’t mean to be defensive or go at anybody. I stand by my apology, and I stand by my people.”

Kyrie Irving’s Contract Talks With Brooklyn Nets ‘Broke Down’ After Tweet

Irving’s trade request surprised observers, but the reality is that the relationship between him and the Nets, particularly owner Joe Tsai, had been coming to a head for quite some time. Tensions seemingly began to rise when he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccination last season. That decision led to Brooklyn’s sidelining him for the first half of the season before re-instating him in January 2022.

But the icing on the cake seemed to be when the Nets suspended him. According to Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, contract talks “broke down” after Irving tweeted about the movie.

“The larger part of it was [the extension], but as much it was the larger deal or the larger issue it wasn’t,” Robinson said on the February 6 episode of the “Under the Hood” podcast. “Their relationship … from my understanding and conversations I’ve had, broke down back in October when Kyrie tweeted that link. But it was even broken down way before then; it was a difference in philosophy.

“I’m told that Joe Tsai has said that he reached out, but I heard that he didn’t reach out in the way that it was described and that ultimately — Kyrie respects him as his employer but that’s not his ‘buddy’ or that’s not his friend,” Robinson said. “So, certain conversations were had about just … Joe Tsai’s connectivity to different stars, and I’ve been told that some people feel like that specifically to Joe Tsai, that he wants to show off and make it seem like that’s his best friend or that they’re cool.”