Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been one of the most talked-about players since the start of the month because of the mystery surrounding his absence from the team.
Jackie MacMullan, a longtime NBA sportswriter and ESPN columnist, drew the ire of fans Thursday over comments she said she made to Irving when the two talked about how the league sees players. MacMullan was on “The Ryen Russillo Podcast” on The Ringer and recalled the conversation.
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“So I will tell you this, I was thinking of all the conversations I’ve had with Kyrie through the years. One of them I had, I don’t know, two years ago, we got into an argument about, you know, something. And he’s like, ‘Well, there shouldn’t be an NBA Draft. Players should be able to go wherever they want to go. We’re not, you know, someone’s property.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah you are, dude. That’s the way it works,'” she said on the podcast. “That’s why you get paid all these millions.
“I really think in Kyrie’s mind … I think the effects of the Capitol, I think the effects of the Jacob Blake shooting … I think, genuinely, those things affected him. They bothered him. He felt like we’re not putting importance where it belongs. These things are more important.”
JAMES HARDEN TRADE ‘HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH’ KYRIE IRVING’S ABSENCE, NETS GENERAL MANAGER SAYS
Listeners also took issue with Bill Simmons, the founder of The Ringer, comparing NBA players to dogs.
Irving’s whereabouts have been unclear.
The NBA was reportedly investigating videos showing the superstar at his sister’s birthday party maskless. He also appeared to show up on a Zoom call for a New York district attorney candidate.
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Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving was on board with the trade that sent James Harden to the Nets and that his absence was unrelated to that move.