Kyrie Irving vs. the New York media.
That will be one of the interesting subplots in Brooklyn this season — and Irving fired the first shot. He refused to participate in a pre-camp Zoom interview with the press as part of the Nets’ “Media Week” and instead released this statement.
COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways, so I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey.
Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly.
I am committed to show up to work everyday, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself.
Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.
Irving has had a contentious relationship with the media. In part that’s because he’s an inquisitive and unconventional guy, which leads him to occasionally say some idiotic things — like the earth is flat — then he can’t control the media spin on it and the way he is portrayed (negatively). Also, he’s had some rough spots in his career, such as the year in Boston, that have led to media criticism of his game and him as a person, and again he sees that as unfair, and it’s something he can’t control.
Irving’s answer to this is not to do his job and meet with the media — it is, literally, part of his job and contract — and puts out a milquetoast statement that will be conveyed properly as lame.
Irving doesn’t trust “the media” — as if it is a unified monolith — much like many Americans when it comes to politics, mostly because it doesn’t always paint a positive picture and tell them what they want to hear. It’s very Trumpian (don’t trust the media, go on Fox until you don’t like what they say, then slam them and find another, smaller network that just kisses your… you get it). Not that the media should be blindly trusted, but it’s pretty easy to spot the person with the agenda, especially in sports. Some players just don’t like “the media” because they can’t control the spin on what they say or do.
Irving wanted to play in New York, which comes with a large spotlight and a large and intense media following, one that’s not always going to be positive. This is the life you chose, the market you chose, and you’re well compensated for it. Do your job and talk to them, and if you don’t like the message use your social media to make your case.