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Charles Barkley calls for ‘idiot’ Kyrie Irving to be suspended after Twitter post controversy

Charles Barkley has called for Kyrie Irving to be punished by the NBA and thinks they ‘dropped the ball’ in letting the player getting away without, up to this point, any repercussions. 

Irving, 30, publicized the 2018 film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ with a link to its Amazon page earlier this week and speaking on national television on Tuesday night, Barkley didn’t hold back on America’s elite basketball league and the Nets point guard in his assessment over the controversy. 

‘I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver] should have suspended him,’ Barkley said on TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’, referring to the league’s commissioner. Barkley was also fiercely critical of Irving’s role in Steve Nash being fired this week in a widespread critique of the Nets.

'I think the NBA made a mistake': Charles Barkley called out the NBA for not suspending Irving

‘I think the NBA made a mistake’: Charles Barkley called out the NBA for not suspending Irving 

Irving, 30, has been criticized for doubling-down Irving over a tweet about a controversial film

Irving, 30, has been criticized for doubling-down Irving over a tweet about a controversial film

The Brooklyn Nets guard is in the public eye for all the reasons once more for promoting the 2018 film 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' on Twitter

The Brooklyn Nets guard is in the public eye for all the reasons once more for promoting the 2018 film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ on Twitter

‘First of all, Adam’s Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million dollars and insult my religion,’ Barkley added, referring to Irving’s salary in the last season of his four-year $136,490,600 contract. ‘If you’re going to insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ”No, you’re not going to take my $40 million and insult my religion”.’

‘I think the NBA made a mistake. We have suspended people and fined people who have made homophobic slurs, and that was the right thing to do. I think if you insult the Black community, you should be suspended or fined heavily, depending. I saw they did the same thing to the kid in Minnesota this year [Anthony Edwards] when he made the gay slur. I think you should get suspended or fined.’ 

‘Chuck’ didn’t stop there. The NBA’s 1993 MVP labeled Irving as an ‘idiot’ for costing Nash’s job after the Nets coach’s departure from the team on Tuesday. His on-air colleague, Shaquille O’Neal, also publicly used the same insult on Brooklyn’s star.

‘It hurts me sometimes when we have to sit up here and talk about stuff that divides the game. We have got to answer for what this idiot has done,’ ‘Shaq’ said on TNT. ‘I stand for equality of all people, I’ve always been like that. It doesn’t matter, your religion or where you’re from. That’s how I was raised. I don’t want to sit up here and answer questions for what he’s done. It’s my job to make people happy.’

‘I can’t answer for what he’s doing – it is obvious by his answers that he doesn’t really care,’ he added.

Nets coach Steve Nash was fired on Tuesday for Brooklyn's 2-5 start to the season, before the team's latest loss to the Bulls

Nets coach Steve Nash was fired on Tuesday for Brooklyn’s 2-5 start to the season, before the team’s latest loss to the Bulls

Irving got in a public spat with a reporter after being quizzed about his tweet last weekend

Irving got in a public spat with a reporter after being quizzed about his tweet last weekend

TNT host Earnie Johnson then reminded Barkley that the NBA could still proceed with disciplinary action but the former 76ers, Suns and Rockets player wasn’t having it, insisting it was already too late. 

‘The reason it’s too late—the NBA is giving in to peer pressure,’ Barkley said. ‘If one of our players does something, the team or the league has to do something immediately. 

‘If you just give in to peer pressure, that’s the problem I have. This should have been handled already,’ he further stressed. 

Irving did not speak to reporters again Tuesday while the Nets decide how best to respond to the fallout from the star guard.

General manager Sean Marks said the team didn’t want to cause additional ‘fuss’ by Irving speaking again after the team’s latest, 99-108 loss to the Bulls, going 2-6 overall.

‘I think everybody knows he’s going to have to answer these questions at some point and he hasn’t sort of shied away in the past,’ Marks said. ‘But I think the last postgame meeting didn´t go well and we’re not trying to cover it up, I think this is something that needs to be addressed but let’s address it in the right form and fashion.’ 

Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving's media duties have been temporarily restricted for the time being as he doesn't want to cause additional 'fuss'

Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving’s media duties have been temporarily restricted for the time being as he doesn’t want to cause additional ‘fuss’

Both the NBA and Nets owner Joe Tsai released statement condemning Irving’s post, but he initially doubled down on his stance, following Brooklyn’s game on Saturday night. 

During a testy exchange with a reporter in the postgame press conference Saturday, the 30-year-old said: ‘I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.’

The Nets star did eventually delete the tweet Sunday following uproar and backlash. He was heckled by fans on Monday playing for the Nets – the supporters were wearing shirts saying ‘Fight anti-Semitism’.




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