“Our Society Has More Work To Do, Including Joe Tsai” | Jaylen Brown Bothered By Joe Tsai’s Handling Of Kyrie Irving Situation

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Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, a vice president with the National Basketball Players Association, is not happy with Brooklyn Nets governor Joe Tsai and the way he’s handling the Kyrie Irving situation. Irving is currently suspended from the Nets for promoting an anti-Semitic movie on Twitter. Irving has a set of criteria he must meet in order to rejoin the team. Brown and the NBPA are watching and may feel the need to interject on Irving’s behalf.

“I think you are asking for a need to satisfy the common public and I’m not sure if that is something that Kyrie is looking to do. I don’t think he meant any harm by posting it,” Brown said. “But the comment that Joe Tsai made which I feel like bothered a lot of people was like, ‘He has more work to do.’ Like, what does that mean? Our society has more work to do, including Joe Tsai. So I’m curious to know what that is, what that means, and everybody is tuned in.”

Whether or not Kyrie “meant to harm” anybody is irrelevant. He did harm people and promoted a piece of anti-Semitic propaganda. After Kyrie’s posts credible bomb threats were called into New Jersey synagogues.

Kyrie does have more work to do, as outlined by the conditions the team has set forth.

Kyrie has met with Joe and Clara Tsai, and Joe said he doesn’t believe Irving is anti-Semitic or has hatred toward any group. That’s all well and good. But Joe Tsai set the terms for Kyrie’s reinstatement. So unless he’s willing to relent on the items listed, Irving needs to complete the tasks. As of Wednesday, he has yet to complete the checklist.

Now Brown is correct when he says our society and Joe Tsai has work to do. But this isn’t about Joe Tsai and his issues. Pointing the finger at someone else’s transgressions doesn’t make what Kyrie did any less egregious.

Also Brown doesn’t exactly have the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his position. Brown remained affiliated with Kanye West’s Donda Sports even as West was spewing hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric. He only reversed course after mounting public pressure.

When Brown says that what Tsai said about Kyrie “bothered a lot of people” he was speaking about fellow players in the league and Black people more broadly.

There is a feeling by some players within the NBA and by Black people in the larger world, that Irving having to complete a checklist is a step too far. There is a measure of forcing Irving to kowtow or “bootlick” at the behest of “the man.”

In a historical and wider context you can understand why that sentiment is present. Historically it’s often true that when Black people mess up, the punishment is excessive. But that still doesn’t make what Irving did right.

He put himself in this position. He was given ample opportunity to apologize and say he was not anti-Semitic. But he chose hubris, defiance, and hostility.

There is no clear momentum for Irving’s return. He has been in contact with his teammates. But head coach Jacque Vaughn and general manager Sean Marks have said there is no update on a timetable.

The Nets have made it clear what Irving must do to return. It’s up to him whether he does it or not.