For those that may not be aware of the Kyrie Irving situation. I am going to give a brief recap of the events. Since posting a link to a controversial documentary, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has come under fire for anti-Semitic views. In response to the intense backlash, the team and player released a joint statement pledging $500K to the Anti-defamation League. Kyrie’s lack of apology led to NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressing disappointment. Kyrie then stood firm on his views, leading the Nets to suspend him without pay.

Kyrie Irving issued an apology, just hours after he was suspended from the Nets. According to reports, in order for Kyrie to return to the team, he must complete six tasks set forth by the organization.

  1. Issue an apology for posting a link to the movie on Oct. 27, condemn the harmful and false content and make clear that he does not have anti-Jewish beliefs.
  2. Complete the anti-hate causes that Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League agreed upon in their joint release on Nov. 2, including a $500,000 donation toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in communities.
  3. Complete sensitivity training created by the Nets.
  4. Complete anti-Semitic/anti-hate training designed by the Nets.
  5. Meet with representatives from the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish community leaders in Brooklyn.
  6. After completing 1 through 5, meet with owner Joe Tsai and lead franchise officials and demonstrate the lessons learned and that the gravity of the harm caused in the situation is understood and provide assurances that this type of behavior will not be repeated.

The team’s organizational communications and crisis plans were put to the test in a situation that unfolded over a one-week period from October 27 to November 3. The Nets decision to suspend Kyrie Irving after seven days showed a lack of a clear and immediate plan of action to this situation. If Kyrie refused to give an apology on the first day, they should have implemented an immediate suspension. They waited seven days to suspend him which forced an apology from him. The mandatory apology that Kyrie gave was insufficient in addressing the problem. In addition it opened up the NBA as a whole to scrutiny.

For example, fans and experts started to wonder why other players are not condemning Kyrie for his views and behavior. Adam Silver, league commissioner, became involved in order to protect the NBA’s interests. The NBA has over 48 league level sponsors and television/streaming deals with companies like Disney, Microsoft, TNT which are valued between 2.8 to 3 billion dollars. These advertisement and broadcast partners were concerned.

The Brooklyn Nets are valued at 3.2 billion dollars, but their lack of preparedness in handling a crisis has caused partners and advertisers to question the team as well as the NBA as a whole. A team like the Brooklyn Nets, should have been able to handle the situation quickly and efficiently, but their slow response has raised eyebrows.