Topic: Media Research Center
As with Kanye West, the Media Research Center hated NBA star Kyrie Irving before it loved him. It was, however, for a much briefer time than the MRC hated Ye: The only early criticism of Irving we found was a June 2020 post by Jay Maxson complaining that Irving was among NBA players considering boycotting the rest of the 2020 season (which would eventually be played in a bubble in Florida to protect against COVID infections) over social justice concerns following the death of George Floyd.
Then Irving became an anti-vaxxer, and the MRC loved him, with its two sports bloggers, Maxson and John Simmons, gushing over his supposedly prinicipled stance.It has continued to lionize Irving's anti-vaxxer attitudes: An Aug. 31 post by Simmons whined that the NBA "made Kyrie Irving an outcast because he did not want to get vaccinated," while a Sept. 10 post by Simmons helped Irving play victim because no team would give him a long-term contract over his anti-vaxx selfishness:
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving claimed that he turned down a massive contract extension before the 2021-22 season in large part to remain unvaccinated.
Irving said that the Nets offered him a contract of four years and roughly $100 million in salary, but that his decision to be unvaccinated was a strong factor in him and the organization not being able to come to terms with the new contract.
"I gave up four years, 100-and-something million deciding to be unvaccinated and that was the decision," Irving said on Monday. "[Get this] contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there's a level of uncertainty of your future, whether you're going to be in this league, whether you're going to be on this team, so I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision."
Sure, Irving has made enough money in his excellent NBA career to last him for a long time, but he likely could have easily cashed in on a big payday and the sides likely could have reached an agreement without any hiccups had New York not been so adamant about implementing a pointless, harmful, and costly mandate.
So when Irving indulged in Kanye-esque anti-Semitism by posting a link to an anti-Semitic film on his Instagram account, then wouldn't apologize until after the NBA suspended him, he built up enough anti-vaxx goodwill at the MRC that it came to his defense instead of criticizing his anti-Semitism. A Nov. 10 post by Clay Waters whined that the New York Times reported on both Irving's and West's anti-Semitism and that they were being "blamed on Trump and Republicans." Waters did at least call the anti-Semitism "rancid" -- which is the only word of criticism the MRC has expressed toward Irving's anti-Semitism. (Just like with Kanye.)
The next day, however, Maxson wouldn't criticize Irving at all, instead going into full whataboutism mode:
On Thursday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said the Swoosh is done with Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving because the star guard “stepped over the line” by posting a social media link to an anti-Semitic movie. Boston Celtics’ all-star Jaylen Brown was having none of this, as he tagged Nike for hypocrisy over the issue of China.
“Since when did Nike care about ethics?,” Brown tweeted in response.
The same can be said of Brown and the NBA. He has worn Nike shoes in some games this season. Nike sources products from a factory in Qingdao, China, where Uyghur laborers are brutalized and forced to produce basketball shoes. The NBA pacifies China to protect income from its largest market.
Nike and the NBA will continue to rake in their Chinese windfalls, while giving meaningless lip service to social justice. Shame on both of them. They deserve zero respect and none of our consumer dollars.
Speaking of meaningless lip service, the MRC used to criticize Elon Musk for his close ties to China -- until he started spouting right-wing rhwtoric and got interested in buying Twitter.
It took both Jason Cohen -- the guy who wrote a post that tried so hard to justify Kanye's anti-Semitism that the MRC eventuially deleted it -- and Matt Philbin to write a Nov. 17 post that played whataboutism with both Irving's and Ye's anti-Semitism:
Say what you want about Kanye West and Kyrie Irving – their antisemitism doesn’t come with a body count. Then there’s Al Sharpton.
Race hustling MSNBC host was inciting riots and deadly arson against New York Jews before Irving was born. So the timing of a positive new documentary about Sharpton is … ironic. And for John Legend to executive produce it and Joe Scarborough to promote it is flat-out hypocritical.
So what is the deal here?
Al long ago laundered his image, losing weight and trading in the shiny tracksuit and gold chains for a tie, an MSNBC job and close ties to left-wing politicians. Had it had one, MSNBC’s reputation would have taken a hit. The English language certainly did.
Conversely, Ye has recently shown himself to be quite conservative and even sinned greatly by supporting Trump. While Kyrie’s politics are less clear-cut, he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which undoubtedly alienated him from the mainstream left.
So are progressives proponents of canceling antisemites, or is it only when convenient?
Al Sharpton’s antisemitism was more virulent and harmful than anything Ye or Irving said. His race hoaxes ruined lives and he’s never shown any contrition.
The evidence is clear that Sharpton was a dangerous antisemite at a level much more severe than Ye and Irving. Yet Ye and Irving have been completely canceled while Sharpton has been embraced.
At no point do Cohen and Philbin actually condemn Irving's or Ye's anti-Semitism -- they simply argue it wasn't allegedly as bad as Sharpton's.
It seems that Cohen and Philbin only want to cancel anti-Semites when its convenient to their right-wing agenda -- and Irving and Kanye have been too convenient to their agenda for these two to offer even the slightest criticism of their anti-Semitism, let alone go into cancel mode.