Things are a mess for the Brooklyn Nets at the moment as Kyrie Irving continues to sit out games for “personal reasons.” The Brooklyn point guard missed his fourth-straight game on Tuesday night ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has seen enough, he believes Irving should retire from the NBA if he’s going to continue to pull these moves.
Irving is reportedly sitting out games as a form of protest against the U.S. Capitol protests and riots, but just over the past few days he’s allegedly been spotted at a party breaking the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol and just a half-hour before the Nets’ game on Tuesday against Denver tipped off, he joined a Zoom call with Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi.
All of this is comes after the fact that Irving announced earlier in the season that he wouldn’t be speaking with the media, who he called “pawns.”
During a passionate rant on ‘First Take’ on Wednesday, Smith applauded Irving’s commitment to social justice issues and community involvement but explained why he thinks Irving should call it quits.
“Let me say this straight up and down: I think Kyrie Irving should retire. He should announce his retirement today,” Smith said.
“Kyrie Irving has not prioritized basketball, but I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play all together,” Smith continued. “I’m saying he hasn’t prioritized it, and how fair was that to Brooklyn Nets? How fair is that to [general manager] Sean Marks, how fair is that to Steve Nash, a coach that he endorsed? How fair is that to his brother, Kevin Durant?”
— First Take (@FirstTake) January 13, 2021
Nothing Smith said here was wrong. Irving simply is not fulfilling his duties to the Nets, his employer, that just so happens to be paying him over $33 million this season. Employers don’t like when you don’t show up to work, especially if you don’t give them a reason as to why and you’re popping up at parties and Zoom calls.
If Irving does decide to return to the Nets, he could end up being fined up to $400k per game if he’s forced to sit out due to a violation of their health and safety protocols.