LeBron James Defends Kyrie Irving on Twitter, Thinks Nets' Punishment Was 'Excessive'

Liam McKeone
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

After the Brooklyn Nets play the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, Kyrie Irving will have officially missed five games and served the bare minimum suspension handed down by the organization. In case you somehow missed it, Irving used his social media to link to an antisemitic film and refused to apologize in several public appearances before the Nets had enough. Since the suspension was announced last week, Irving has apologized and met with commissioner Adam Silver. But nobody knows when he will take the court again because he needs to complete other tasks the Nets have required of him first.

It is an unprecedented punishment. When players go out of bounds like Irving did they get slapped with a suspension and sometimes a fine and that's it. The Nets are requiring Irving to undergo a complete education to understand why he did wrong. This is a measure that appears necessary given Irving's very stubborn public refusals to acknowledge his wrongdoing but it is not something that will sit well with Irving's fellow players.

The NBAPA (of which Irving is a Vice President) has already begun war in the realm of public perception by voicing their disagreement with the punishment to reporters. Now LeBron James is out here defending Irving on his Twitter account.

No surprise that LeBron is defending an old friend of his and you can bet that he knows what he's doing by putting his opinion out there. He is the most influential player in the league. When LeBron talks, people listen.

It is, however, disappointing that as one of the few guys to speak publicly about this LeBron dismissed the antisemitic film as simply "hurtful information" before moving on to why Kyrie should play. But, again, not unexpected. The Nets' decision to give Irving a checklist to complete before returning to play launched the whole issue into a different stratosphere-- one that will reveal what line teams cannot cross when it comes to disciplining their players.