Charles Barkley via CNN YouTube

NBA on TNT analyst and former NBA Most Valuable Player Charles Barkley is now calling for the Brooklyn Nets to allow Kyrie Irving to return to the basketball court after being suspended indefinitely at the beginning of the month. However, he also insinuates that he’s a racist alongside Kanye West.

Charles Barkley via NBA on TNT

Irving was suspended by the Nets after he posted an Amazon link to the documentary film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America The Movie to his Twitter account.

Kyrie Irving Twitter

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Following this post, Barkley called for Irving to be suspended. “I think the NBA dropped the ball. I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver] should have suspended him.” Barkley said.

“First of all, Adam’s Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million dollars and insult my religion. 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,’” he continued. “I think the NBA, they made a mistake.”

The Nets would indefinitely suspend Irving for at least a minimum of five games on November 3rd, deeming his post somehow anti-Semitic.

They posted to Twitter, “Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.”

It continued, “We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.”

Kyrie Irving during Nets @ Cavs, 17 January 2022 Photo Credit: Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team,” the statement asserted.

The team then announced the suspension, “Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.”

Brooklyn Nets Twitter

The Nets have played seven games with Irving suspended and have gone 4-3 and Barkley is now calling for Irving to be able to return to the basketball court.

Speaking to Don Lemon of CNN, Barkley was asked, “How do you think the league should deal with [Irving’s suspension]? … What if these are his real beliefs? Should they be dealing with that as well? Maybe they have someone that actually believe these things. I’m not saying it is right instead of forcing him to apologize. Maybe they should be dealing with that part of it?”

Barkley replied, “People have the right to feel and say what they want to. We have freedom of speech, but there are repercussions when you say certain things.”

“Listen, I don’t know Kyrie Irving. I don’t know if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. I think he’s been suspended rightfully so, and I think he should come back and play in the NBA,” Barkley continued.

He then elaborated on his thoughts on freedom of speech, “That’s a really slippery slope because people always talk about freedom of speech, freedom of effect, or you say whatever you want to. But there are repercussions. And he’s paying for that right now.”

Barkley then declared, “But this thing with free speech has really gotten out of hand, Don. You can’t just go around insulting people and think it’s okay just because it’s freedom of speech.”

Charles Barkley via NBA on TNT

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When Lemon posited that cancel culture is defined as someone not getting to say what they want to say, Barkley replied, “I don’t like to use the term cancel culture because I don’t want anyone cancelled, but you should be called to the carpet if you said something wrong. No, I don’t believe somebody should lose their job or things like that, but you should be called out if you said something stupid.”

“Hey, I’ve been called out many times and I have no problem with that,” he said. “But I hate the term cancel culture because very few people are cancelled, let’s be honest and realistic.”

Charles Barkley via NBA on TNT

Later in the segment, Barkley insinuated that both Irving and Kanye West are racists. He said, “Well, you know Don, first of all, one thing that has always disturbed me as a black person, which really bothers me about the Kyrie Irving situation and the Kanye West situation. First of all, being black in America is already hard enough and for us to go at other ethnic groups just makes things worst because it’s hard enough being black.”

He then went on a tangent about gay and people claiming to be transgender being mistreated by black people, “And one thing that’s always disappointed me, black people treat gay people. We are the worst when it comes to treating gay people. That’s one thing growing up that really always bothered me.”

“And I wanted to reach out to you, and all my gay friends, all my transgender friends, and tell you I’ve got nothing but love and respect for you,” he concluded. “I want you to be you. And I wanted you to know that day because I understand being black what it’s like being gay because you get mistreated and it’s really unfortunate and sad and stupid to be honest with you.”

Charles Barkley via The Pivot Podcast

What do you make of Barkley’s comments?

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