Dec 10, 2020
Malika AndrewsESPN Staff Writer
- Staff Writer
- Joined ESPN in 2018
- Appears regularly on ESPN Chicago 1000
“The fines result from Irving’s refusal on several occasions this week to participate in the team media availability,” the NBA said in a statement Thursday.
The NBA requires that healthy players be made available to reporters before or after games and practices. Typically, the league also has teams set aside one day at the beginning of training camp for every player on the roster, as well as the general manager and coach, to speak to reporters. This year, the league’s coronavirus protocols limit the number of players allowed in the facility at any given time, and teams have been making a handful of players available each day.
Irving has declined numerous requests to speak to reporters, including those from ESPN, since the beginning of training camp on Dec. 1.
He appeared to react to the fine in an Instagram story Friday.
“I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently,” Irving wrote. “[I am] here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.
“I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”
“I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect, and I understand where Kyrie is coming from in trying to better a number of people’s lives, but I’m just not a divisive person,” Love said. “So that’s where I stand on that, and I love Kyrie. I know he’s changed, but again, I’m just not a divisive person. I believe that everybody has a part to play as long as the intent’s there and it comes from a good place.”
On Dec. 4, Irving released a brief statement instead of doing a traditional news conference.
“Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is properly conveyed,” Irving’s statement said, in part. “I am committed to show up to work every day, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization.”
That statement did not fulfill the league’s media requirements.
Irving, 28, joined the Nets in 2019 on a four-year, $141 million deal. The $25,000 fine amounts to less than 1% of Irving’s annual pay.
For a player to file a grievance, the NBA would have to fine the player more than $50,000, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Nets are scheduled to play their first preseason game Sunday against the Washington Wizards.
ESPN’s Eric Woodyard contributed to this report.