“What He’s Asked To Do To Get Back On The Floor … Is Excessive” | LeBron James Doesn’t Feel Like Kyrie’s Punishment Fits The Infraction

(Photo: Denver Post via Getty Images)

LeBron James has heard all the chatter and watched the repercussions for his former championship-winning teammate Kyrie Irving, and he’s had enough. ‘Bron took a moment during his rehab session to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Irving’s suspension and subsequent business losses since sharing a link to a documentary that many feels shows anti-Semitic views.

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play,” James posted in two tweets. “That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”

Irving was asked to do the following tasks to return to action: Apologies for posting a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic material, condemn the movie, make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes, receive sensitivity training, educate himself on anti-Semitism, meet with the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish leaders and demonstrate his understanding of the issues to Nets owner Joseph Tsai.

James is known for standing on his principles and remaining confident in his views even in the face of extreme opposition, like when he and then-President Donald Trump had their war of words over athletes kneeling. Now James has entered the conversation around the excessive steps that Irving must complete before he can be allowed back on the court.

As the unofficial athletic authority of the NBA, James is nicknamed the “King” for a good reason. He is the only actively playing billionaire in the NBA, and his stamp on any issue raised by players is taken with extreme seriousness as the league’s premiere influencer. Although James was very supportive of Irving in the tweets, he also placed words like “help him learn,” which showcased an assumed underlying belief that Irving was misguided in his posting of the documentary link.

That will be a touchpoint for the masses who will rush to condemn James for showing any sign of support for Irving. That opens up a chasm in the realm of free speech that James has already labeled and branded “shut up and dribble” culture.

On both ends of the spectrum, from Irving sharing the link to the documentary to James showing his support by not agreeing with the terms being placed around the guard to get back to the hardwood, athletes share their views beyond sports. The fact that Irving didn’t provide context to his sharing of the documentary link has been another speculative dagger that has essentially indicted him to his corporate partners, the Brooklyn Nets, and the league.

Very few people supported the actual tweet, but some of his NBA brothers have condemned his actions while supporting his character.

It is why James’ tweet mirrors the sentiments of NBAPA VP and Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown.

“There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it,” Brown said via statement. “Some people will argue there’s no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There’s no language in our CBA. There’s no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody, and everybody is trying to figure out the difference between the two.”

The room for support of Kyrie Irving’s expeditious return to the court is about to get a lot more crowded now that James has entered it, and athletic voices are starting to move past the accusations and pinpoint the punishment.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.