“I’m Not With the Systematic Racism”: Kyrie Irving Pushing NBA Players to Boycott Season Resumption

Published 06/13/2020, 3:13 AM EDT

On Friday NBPA vice-president Kyrie Irving led a conference call that involved 80 players from both NBA and WNBA. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Irving was against the return in Orlando. According to Charania, Irving said, “I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform). “I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. Something smells a little fishy.”

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It came as a surprise since the NBPA had voted 28-0 for a resumption of the NBA season, just over a week ago. But Kyrie Irving wasn’t the only one advising against the return.  Dwight Howard reportedly said playing now would be “distraction” to the movement for social justice and that now is the time to be catalysts for change

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NBA players divided on the return

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Carmelo Anthony had an interview with Ernie Johnson two days back. Regarding the team’s status, Melo said they have been in the gym and are ready physically. But he admitted the lack of clarity made him unsure about the return. He said, “We don’t know a lot of information, so until we have that, it’s kind of hard to just commit to it 100 percent.”

His teammate Damian Lillard also admitted the confusion was prevalent in the Trail Blazers camp. While speaking to GQ, he said, “A lot of my teammates are like, “Whatever, let’s play. Let’s hoop. If that’s what we’re gonna do and they’re saying it’s safe, then let’s do it.” And then, on the other hand, people be like, “Are we just doing this because we don’t want to miss out on this money?” People just don’t know.”

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Family situations, like in Karl-Anthony Towns’ case, and a need to follow the social distancing norm are two other reasons which have pushed the players against returning.

Last week NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had informed players that they will be under no obligation to participate when the NBA resumes on the 31st of July. Practice facilities have opened and teams are urging players to practice there instead. The NBA plans to resume with eight regular-season games before proceeding to the playoffs.

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Aaron Mathew

1689 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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