The Brooklyn Nets' 2020-21 season brought along championship hopes for the team as both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returned to the court. Both Durant and Irving dominated on the court, bagging five wins. However, a few days ago, Irving opted out of their games for a personal reason, only to reportedly partying while violating league protocol. As per recent reports, the NBA will now be investigating the matter.
As of now, Irving has missed four games due to his personal reasons, and will be missing two more this week, per ESPN's Adrion Wojnarowski. However, while not much has been revealed on Irving's reason to sit out of the games, the NBA is currently investigating the video shared online. Apparently, Irving was a part of a birthday celebration – where he was partying without a mask on. Per reports, his father and sister have birthdays this week.
Videos have surfaced of Kyrie Irving at a large birthday gathering alongside his sister, Asia.— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) January 12, 2021
Kyrie’s sister & dad have birthdays this week.
Given the size of the gathering & now public nature of it, Kyrie might now have to undergo a quarantine period before returning. https://t.co/McrYtFH9XK pic.twitter.com/U4T1KAvMTl
The video shared on social media features Irving partying with his sister, raising a cause of concern. Fans who shared and saw the clip were confused, unhappy with another NBA star violating rules. Some fans immediately compared to James Harden, who was also fined and disciplined for violating the COVID-19 safety protocols set by the league.
Statement from Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks: pic.twitter.com/2obJ4zwzgU— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 12, 2021
In a statement released by the Nets, they assured fans that they are working with Irving and the league to investigate. In the statement, general manager Sean Marks revealed that Irving is currently not with the team. There is no date pertaining to his return.
As of now, Irving is yet to make a public statement on this matter. "Happy Journey around the Sun King!" he wrote on Instagram for his father's birthday. When he pulled out of the first game, reports stated that he just did not feel like playing. Fans even reacted to his apparent attitude towards the season, some joking that Irving treats the NBA like a 9-to-5 job.
“I don’t know. I just found out. I just sent him a message in the last half hour. I haven’t heard back yet," head coach Steve Nash said when talking about Irving's absence. The 2016 NBA champion was said to be 'off the grid', receiving support from each coach and teammate Kevin Durant.
“I won’t speak on Kyrie. I’ll let him do that for himself,” Durant said while talking to reporters after a Nets game. He added that everyone will be able to see Irving when he is back, and they support him 100 percent while praying for the best. However, SNY TV's Ian Begley has reported that the Nets feat Irving might not be back soon, and would miss gave irrespective of the protocol violations.