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NBA fines Kyrie Irving, Nets $25K each after Irving refused to speak with media

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The NBA has fined Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets $25,000 each after Irving declined to speak with media last week during a preseason media session, violating league rules.

The NBA announced the fines on Thursday.

“The fines result from Irving’s refusal on several occasions this week to participate in team media availability,” an NBA statement reads.

Irving was a no-show for last Friday’s media session and opted instead to release a statement.

“Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly,” Irving’s statement read in part. “I am committed to show up to work every day, 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 this season speak for itself.”

Part of Irving’s job that he vowed to show up for “every day” is to participate in media sessions as mandated by the NBA. Hence, Thursday’s fines.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 113-107. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Kyrie Irving refused to speak with media during a mandatory session and opted to issue a statement instead. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Will Irving continue to shirk media responsibilities?

Irving implied in his statement that he plans to avoid speaking with the media all season. The NBA made clear the stakes attached on Thursday if he continues to do so.

The fine is an insignificant portion of his $33.3 million salary this season, but threatens to add up if Irving intends to make good on his plan to maintain media silence.

Why the media reticence?

Irving has created trouble for himself with his words in the past. He was widely criticized for a public vow to sign an extension with the Boston Celtics in 2018 months before leaving in free agency to join the Nets.

A flat-earth theory he first espoused in 2017 has stuck with him and prompted an apology from Irving for spreading misinformation in 2018 .

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