“I’mma Let It Marinate For The Next 24 Hours…Kyrie Wants To Say What He Wants To Say, I’m Gonna Say What I Want To Say” | Stephen A. Smith Plans To Ether Kyrie On ‘First Take’

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The Brooklyn Nets were swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Monday and the talking head shows have been going in on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and company for their collective failure. Irving certainly has heard and seen what’s being said and took to Twitter on Thursday to attack the media, and possibly a subtle shot at ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

The “First Take” host had a message for Irving and plans for Friday’s show.

“I’mma let it marinate for the next 24 hours,” said Smith, “Kyrie wants to say what he wants to say. I’m going to say what I want to say.”

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the circus that is sports media and the take economy.

The machine was running fine feeding off Durant’s tweets in response to the Nets loss, but now that Irving has jumped into the fray, the machine is about to gorge.

The enigmatic Irving fired off a series of tweets where he attacks the media for “profiting off discussing, directing, and disrespecting people’s lives for entertainment.”

Irving has long held a disdain for the media and, to be fair, certain segments of the media are disingenuous and only seek to profit off the chaos and messiness.

But here’s the problem. In this case, Irving is the cause of the chaos and messiness and he doesn’t want to be held accountable.

At the beginning of the 2021-22 season the NBA made it clear that they wanted all of its players to be vaccinated. They couldn’t make it mandatory as it would be a violation of the current collective bargaining agreement.

The NBA has 30 teams that play in various cities around the country. Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear that the teams had to follow whatever local vaccine mandates exist in their city, and that the league would not be seeking any special exemptions or treatment.

New York City had a vaccine mandate in place for professional athletes playing indoor sports. Irving was well aware of this situation, had over a year to speak to medical professionals about the efficacy of the vaccine and potential risks.

Instead he conducted his own research and chose to be the athlete face of the anti-vaccination movement.  The Nets said Irving would not be allowed to play unless he was a full participant. Meaning he had to be fully vaccinated so he could play at home and on the road.

Irving declined and as the season went on and the omicron variant spread, the Nets relented and allowed Irving to play in road games in cities with no vaccine mandates.

This disjointed lineup and Irving’s continued refusal to be vaccinated alienated some teammates and caused James Harden to force his way out in a trade.

All of the turmoil brought about by Irving was a distraction all season and one he refuses to take responsibility for.

Following the sweep at the hands of the Celtics, Irving spoke about his desire to sign an extension with the Nets and how he, Durant, owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks will manage the franchise going forward.

“When I say I’m here with Kev, I think that really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe and Sean.”

That Irving now wants to take shots at media or “puppets” as he refers to them, clearly doesn’t sit well with Stephen A.

To be clear, Irving is free to operate in life how he chooses and sees fit. He can make whatever choices he deems correct for himself and his family. But he is not free from how the consequences of his choices, the impact they have on his teammates, and how media members react to it.

Your job is public, the media’s job is to cover the team how it performs and all the things that impact said performance. Irving is one of the factors that impact performance.

Whether it be refusing to take a vaccine resulting in missed games, cursing at fans during games, taking unexcused absences in the middle of the season, or comments about how he plans to manage the franchise. All of it is fair game to be discussed, dissected and analyzed.

Stephen A. is a talking head and much of what he does is performative. But he did begin his career as a hard-core journalist and is still connected and sourced around the NBA. If he says there are things he wants to say about Irving but hasn’t, rest assured the comments will be explosive and likely valid.