Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving reportedly opposes the NBA restart plan and is leading a group of players who are against the proposal.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving told more than 80 NBA players on a conference call, “I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the (expletive). Something smells a little fishy. … I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform).”
Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks tweeted, “Sources tell me majority of the NBA call was on social justice reform. It lasted for about 2 hours, but over an hour was dedicated to that. While they are absolutely all concerned about COVID and that was a vital part of conversation. Racial injustice is the #1 talking point.”
An unnamed “widely respected” player told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night. It’s a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what’s happening in our communities. We are asking ourselves, ‘Where and how can we make the biggest impact?’ Mental health is part of the discussion, too, and how we handle all of that in a bubble.”
Irving, who is injured and will not play for the Nets once the season resumes, led a call of more than 80 players Friday night. During the call, they discussed the nationwide unrest involving social injustice and racism.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving told the players, according to Charania. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Irving went onto tell the group he was “willing to give up everything (for social reform),” according to Charania.
Earlier this month, the NBA announced its plan for the season to resume at Walt Disney World, starting July 30. The proposal calls for 22 teams to report to the Disney campus to finish the regular season and complete the playoffs in empty arenas from August to mid-October.