Charles Barkley hammered NBA commissioner Adam Silver for standing on the sidelines following Kyrie Irving’s since-deleted tweet promoting an antisemitic film and his subsequent lack of remorse.
“I think the NBA dropped the ball. I think Adam should have suspended him,” the Hall of Famer said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on Tuesday night.
“I think the NBA, they made a mistake. We’ve suspended people and fined people who have made homophobic slurs. And that was the right thing to do. If you insult the Black community, you should be suspended or fined heavily. … [Irving] acknowledging the Alex Jones thing, something should have happened with that too, because that dude is crazy. I can’t believe we are not talking about basketball, we’re talking about this idiot (Irving).”
Barkley said any forthcoming punishment will be too little, too late. “This should have been handled already,” he said.
Irving has now played three games for the Nets since he tweeted out a link to an antisemitic film (the tweet has since been deleted). And one game after he doubled down and defended his decision to tweet it, as well as endorsed Alex Jones conspiracy theories, in a press conference. Irving has not been made available to the media since; Nets general manager Sean Marks said he will not meet with reporters in an effort to prevent further “fuss.”
The Nets lost to the Bulls, 108-99, on Tuesday night to fall to 2-6. The loss came hours after Steve Nash was sacked as head coach. Jacque Vaughn served as acting coach, but the team is expected to hire suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka — currently sidelined for the whole year by Boston after an investigation into his inappropriate relationship and alleged misconduct with a female staffer — in the coming days. Irving had just four points in 33 minutes against Chicago.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]