Celtics

Nets star Kyrie Irving didn’t speak to the media, then called them ‘pawns.’ Here’s why.

"The focus is on what’s going on in here, you know, my job."

Kyrie Irving broke his self-imposed media silence on Monday. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

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Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving ended his self-imposed media blackout on Monday, after the NBA announced on Friday it had fined both he and the Brooklyn Nets $25,000 for refusing to make league-mandated media appearances.

Irving initially responded to the fine by taking to Instagram, where he wrote, “I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently… I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”

On Monday, however, Irving struck a slightly different tone, although he didn’t walk back his comments.

“The focus is on what’s going on in here, you know, my job,” Irving said. “And I wanted to make sure that that was clear, no distractions, nothing about dispelling anything, nothing about going back-and-forth, nor about calling out one person or another, not even to refer to you guys as pawns, you know what I mean, or media. It’s just really how I felt about the mistreatment of certain artists when we get to a certain platform of when we make decisions within our lives to have full control and ownership.

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“You know, we go through the rigorous season, we do everything we’re asked to do, and we want to perform in a secure and protected space.”

Irving and the Nets dominated a depleted Washington Wizards team on Sunday in their first preseason game. Irving scored 18 points and showed the full bag of tricks that the Nets hoped to acquire when they signed him and his superstar friend Kevin Durant last offseason. Durant looked good too in his return from an Achilles injury that cost him all of last season.

“Our synergy carries over to everyone else and we allow each other to teach, to learn, to do it every single day,” Irving said. “When I first became close with Kev, it was just built on that. It was talking about our circumstances that we grew up, our journeys. And then it transferred to our activities that we wanted to be a part of outside — whether it be business, whether it be playing together. And we were like man, this thing can happen.

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“And we had to wait, maybe a year-and-a-half. And it came to fruition and now you guys get to see a product that has been worked on for the last few months. So we do things to continue to be closer as brothers but as well as keep everyone else engaged with us. Because our greatness is even better together than alone, which is why we’re together.”

Irving will take on his former team, the Boston Celtics, on Christmas. The Nets and Celtics are also scheduled to play a preseason contest in Boston on Friday.

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