Kyrie Irving Could Cost Himself and the Nets a Lot of Money With New Media Strategy
Kyrie Irving does not particularly like the media. This is no secret. The enigmatic superstar's distaste for the industry has been abundantly clear for several years now.
Now, it seems Irving does not want to play ball with media members anymore. In lieu of speaking to reporters during the Brooklyn Nets' opening media day yesterday, Irving released a statement conveying that his actions on and off the court will speak for him. He didn't outright say that he wasn't going to speak to the media all season, but it certainly seemed that was the implication.
It would be entirely unsurprising if Irving decided to refuse to speak to the media for the entirety of this season. Which he can do, if he wants. I'll let others argue over the right or wrongness of his decision there.
I will say that Irving would probably find his wallet significantly lighter if he decided to do that, and the Nets might be sending him a bill, too. Players are required via the collective bargaining agreement to make themselves available to the media. The NBA takes that requirement seriously. They've fined players in the past for refusing to speak to reporters, and it's not small change, either.
For example, Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 after Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals because he refused to speak to reporters. Media availability after playoff games is more important than a regular-season game in January, so unless the league is looking to make an example out of Irving, they probably wouldn't fine him that much. But if Irving even got fined $5,000 for each time he refused to talk to the media, that adds up to a rather significant amount of money if there are 72 games in a season plus playoffs. Is Irving willing to swallow getting $360,000 knocked off his yearly paycheck so he doesn't have to talk to reporters?
On the other side, the Nets will be held responsible as well. In certain situations, only the player is fined. But in other circumstances, the league fines both the team and the player. It hasn't happened in over a decade, but the Wizards were fined $25,000 on several occasions for failing to force Gilbert Arenas to talk to reporters. The Spurs got docked a cool $50,000 for not making their players available to speak with media.
And none of that even touches upon how his teammates might feel if they have to start answering "Why did Kyrie do this" and "Can you explain what Kyrie was thinking here" type questions after games. That would get old pretty quickly for anybody.
Irving has never had a problem ruffling feathers, but if he really does not talk to media for the whole year, he's basically daring the NBA to fine him. They would, too. The league can't let any player do that. It's a terrible precedent for coverage, which is a significant part of the whole ecosystem here. It'll be interesting to see how Irving proceeds.