Kyrie Irving called the media 'pawns' after the NBA fined him $25,000 for refusing to talk to reporters

Kathy Willens/AP ImagesKyrie Irving.
  • Kyrie Irving has refused to speak to the media so far this season, though he is contractually obligated.
  • The NBA fined Irving and the Brooklyn Nets $US25,000 each for refusing to speak to the media on several occasions.
  • Irving said on Instagram that he hopes the money goes to charities and said he refuses to speak to “pawns.”
  • Irving has a checkered history with the media, having criticised how his comments have been portrayed.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kyrie Irving appears to be in a budding war with both the media and the NBA.

When NBA training camps opened last week, Irving did not speak with media. Instead, he released a statement saying he didn’t intend to speak with reporters this season.

“My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself,” the statement read. “Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

Irving also said he was releasing the statement so his message was “properly conveyed.”

This week, the NBA fined Irving and the Nets $US25,000 each, as players are contractually obligated to speak with the media.

Irving responded to the fine on Instagram with a quote from Malcolm X. He then called media members “pawns,” adding that he hopes money from the fines goes to charities.

According to The Athletic’s Zach Harper, the NBA and NBPA donate money from fines to agreed-upon charities.

Irving’s “pawns” comment triggered reactions across the NBA world.

The Athletic’s David Aldridge suggested Irving not accept any awards voted upon by the media this season.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Irving’s former teammate, said that using the term “pawns” was a sign of disrespect.

“I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect, and I understand where Kyrie is coming from in trying to better a number of people’s lives, but I’m just not a divisive person,” Love told reporters.

Irving has a checkered history with the media. In 2019, he criticised speculation over a video that appeared to show him and Kevin Durant speaking about free agency at the All-Star Game. Irving said the speculation was done for “clicks” and suggested it was an invasion of his privacy.

In January, Irving also criticised the media reaction to comments he made in which he listed a handful of Nets players and said they need help. He told reporters, “You’re not in our locker room — stay the f— out.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.