The NBA’s Adam Silver has long enjoyed a reputation as “the good commissioner.” He has been consistently painted as the enlightened one, while his counterparts — the NHL’s Gary Bettman, NFL’s Roger Goodell and MLB’s Rob Manfred — are considered incompetent empty suits that just carry out the bidding of their league’s owners.
The last week or show should end that dynamic, though. Silver has proven he is no different than the rest with his mishandling of the Kyrie Irving scandal. And Thursday’s statement — in the wake of Irving’s shameless non-apology on Wednesday — was a new low.
“Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material,” Silver said. “While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”
Put aside Silver and the Nets still have yet to discipline Irving. Or the fact Irving, with the Nets’ blessing, is violating league rules by ducking the media at the moment. Or the fact Irving’s pledge to work with the ADL came with no specifics and after he and the Nets transparently tried to throw money at the dumpster fire in order to put it out.
No, this situation — one that Silver more or less ignored for days — is of such concern to him that he plans to sit down with Irving “in the next week.”
How about today? The Nets are in Washington on Friday. Silver’s office is in New York. Planes, trains, automobiles. They can be in the same room within the hour. And if not? How about a timeout for Irving in the meantime? Silver does realize he is the commissioner, no? Suspend him. And if the NBPA objects, tell them the NBA will see them at the Supreme Court if necessary. Maybe Silver can talk to someone with the Nets about the impending Ime Udoka disgrace while he’s at it.
The failure of all involved — Irving, Silver, Nets owner Joseph Tsai, Nets general manager Sean Marks, the NBPA — has been astonishing. And there is no end in sight, by all accounts.
MORE ON ESNY:
• The feds have entered the Daniel Snyder-Commanders chat
• Does Saquon Barkley’s big start change his Giants future?
• Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu won another Gold Glove, but does it matter?
• Mets prioritizing Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo among internal free agents
• Dan Orlovsky torches Jets’ Zach Wilson, and he’s not wrong
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]