After three seasons of dwelling in the basement of terrible NBA teams, the Brooklyn Nets escaped to the playoffs through a core of exciting young players. They even made it to the playoffs in consecutive seasons and did so with their most talented player, Kyrie Irving, featuring in only 20 games. The future was undeniably bright.
Since then, the Nets have undergone a full makeover for the worse. Their newest trade acquisition is a known coward who is afraid of the basketball and their point guard is becoming an outwardly anti-semitic individual while their only competent and normal-brained star player spends his downtime going at it with fans on Twitter. As this goes on with their players, reports are coming out that the front office is looking towards firing their highly under-qualified coach to make room for a new coach, who is currently facing suspension by his current team for allegations of infidelity with wives of front office officials.
In other words, the New York City borough is having a tough go at playing basketball this season.
There are two levels of seriousness when it comes to the Nets’ issues: the lighter, normal turbulence that comes with an NBA season, and the unnatural bigotry being displayed by both player and organization. Compared to other professional sports, the roster and staff are smaller, leading to more focus on individual players in every aspect, on-court play and off-court identity being the main lenses.
Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant, as far as I’m concerned and aware of, are just normal guys who play video games and get into Twitter fights. I’m sure a vast majority of NBA fans partake in at least one of those activities. On a normal team, Simmons’ incompetence when facing the basket would be magnified and overanalyzed, just as it was when he was in Philadelphia. Durant’s behavior, while abnormal for a player, has been warmly accepted by NBA fans alike for both the humor it produces and insight into the league he gives. These two are just superstars who are quirky goofballs and who happen to be playing for an organization that is drowning in star players and their own disgusting mess.
Irving has joined the likes of Kanye West in producing anti-semitic remarks and sentiments including the posting of a documentary that pushes the idiotic “Holocaust myth” conspiracy theory. In a statement made to the media, Irving said, “I didn’t mean to cause any harm… I’m not the one that made the documentary.”
For an NBA player who has probably had extensive media training while in the league, this is the comment of a middle school playground argument. If someone were to post excerpts of, say, “Mein Kampf,” would the poster not be responsible for any fallout or influence the post garnered? This is devoid of the fact that Irving has a combined 22 million Instagram and Twitter followers.
Irving’s unseriousness can be shown with two of his own quotes, said within a minute: “I’m in a unique position to have a level of influence in my community,” and “you guys (the media) come in here and make up this powerful influence I have.”
The rhetoric being pushed on Twitter by supporters of Irving about how a player can be racist or sexist or homophobic and not face consequences of real substance, but once someone criticizes the Jewish community they face the wrath of Abraham himself is bunk. Maybe there’s a level of discrepancy, but the punishment divvied out for the former should absolutely be higher, like the weak $40K fine Anthony Edwards faced for homophobic remarks. For a man who used to be held in such high regard for his on-court ability and off-court personality, this turn by Irving is disheartening, to say the least.
While writing this piece, Irving was suspended for at least five games and fined $500K, a good step by the Nets, who have faced their own barrage of criticism for the potential hiring of suspended infidel Ime Udoka. These are still rumors, but the image this hiring would push onto the organization is not one that matches the “progressive” reputation the NBA has created for itself.
Based on the information currently available to the public, Udoka can comfortably be called a womanizer and bad person. Hiring him in a sport filled with an excess of talented coaches sends a horrific message to not only fans of the Nets, but women everywhere.
The story of this Nets season is far from over, but if it continues on this track, the reputation of the organization as a whole and the people who make it up should be dropped into a very deep circle of Hell.
Matthew Butcher is a sophomore studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Matthew know by tweeting him @mattpbutcher.