Kyrie Irving deserves an apology and that apology needs to be louder than the slander that came his way when news broke he was concerned NBA players headed to Orlando would be pulled away from the social justice movement that spread across America. He thought it was a distraction. Now look at what is happening. Irving's thoughts were never hidden and his message was clear and according to a report from Shams in June, he led a call with players in June to voice those concerns. "I don’t support going into Orlando," Irving reportedly said. "I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls--t. Something smells a little fishy." He was never a disruptor.
People were up in arms at the mere fact that Kyrie suggested it might not be the right move for players to enter the bubble and play because it would take away the focus from the ongoing fight for equality, respect, and justice. Now, less than three months later, Kyrie's stance doesn't look crazy at all after a full slate of NBA playoff games were postponed Thursday. It started when Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their first-round series against the Magic in response to the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A truly powerful statement—a strike—took place in the NBA, one that was proposed by Kyrie in June and dismissed by many. Now, more and more people have spoken up about how maybe it wasn't the right decision to go to the bubble after all. If you have not done so already, I implore you to watch Doc Rivers' powerful speech following the Clippers game agaisnt the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Powerful words that we all need to pay attention to right now.
This isn't meant to be a preachy type of piece from a white editor who has no idea what it's like to be black in the United States, but I think it's an imporant message to remember because so many dismissed Kyrie for speaking his mind. And what has Kyrie done since? He pledged $1.5 million to support WNBA players who opted out of their season. He also produced a documentary on Breonna Taylor, which debuted in July. But instead of focusing on the change that Kyrie has been trying to bring, his haters talk about the one time he said the Earth might be flat.
As we sit here and ponder whether the NBA season might be over as they push their chips to the center of the table, it must not be forgotten that Kyrie was talked down for this very thing. We don't know where this goes from here, but we do know that Kyrie is trending on Twitter because he was the first one to suggest that this is the type of action that will make people notice and pay attention to the ills of society. So as NBA players put their money and livlihoods on the line and take the historic step of boycotting playoff games, we must salute them for doing what is right in the name of change. And we must apologize to Kyrie for thinking outside the box.