Charles Barkley, Shaq rip 'idiot' Kyrie Irving: 'I think he should have been suspended'


The Brooklyn Nets are the talk of the NBA lately for various reasons — none of them particularly good as the team parted ways with head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday in the midst of a controversy involving Kyrie Irving and his promotion of an antisemitic film on social media.

It was Irving, though, who was still the focal point of the criticism during Tuesday’s NBA on TNT pregame show, drawing the ire of both Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.

The two Hall of Famers did not pull any punches in their criticism of Irving, who got contentious with a reporter on Saturday in an attempt to defend his social media posts.

“I think the NBA dropped the ball," Barkley said. "I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver] should have suspended him. ...I think they made a mistake. [The NBA] has suspended and fined people for making homophobic slurs — which I think is the right thing to do — I think if you insult the Black community you should be suspended or fined heavily.

"...I think the Alex Jones thing, something should have happened with that too, because that dude is crazy. I can’t believe that we ain’t talking about basketball. We’re talking about this idiot.”

Shaq also used the same adjective in his critique of Irving.

“It hurts me sometimes when we have to sit up here to talk about stuff that divides the game,” O’Neal said. “That we gotta answer for what this idiot has done.’

Nets GM Sean Marks said on Tuesday that Irving would not be available to speak to the media until he is able to “simmer down.” The GM added that the team is taking advice from the Anti-Defamation League, although it is unclear if Irving was directly involved with any meeting with the ADL.

Nets owner Joseph Tsai, the NBA and NBPA, the latter of which Irving is the vice president of, all put out statements condemning hate speech, although the league and players’ union did not specifically mention Irving by name.

It remains unclear if Irving will be disciplined by the team or league. He has since deleted the link to the film.

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