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As drama mounts, Nets suspend Irving ("unfit"), who finally apologizes. A breather for Tsai (+award Nov. 9)? But coach unresolved. "My only religion is to win" (oh?)

I've been waiting for the extraordinary drama surrounding the Brooklyn Nets to subside before trying to write a wrap-up--after all, sports journalists and others have chronicled the daily tick-tock--but it's not over, even though yesterday it finally hit a few turning points.

As NetsDaily's Lucas Kaplan put it in this morning's preview, Nets travel to Washington to fulfill requirements as basketball team, but they're going without the injured Ben Simmons and star guard Kyrie Irving,

Irving yesterday was suspended for at least five games after refusing to apologize (and doubling down in a press availability) for implicitly endorsing an anti-Semitic video (after promising to donate $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League, which then rejected the gift), and then, finally apologized.

My take, which I will elaborate on, is that yes, Irving was defending the indefensible (and those who've watched the movie are much harsher), but the outrage seems selective, as the team declared him "unfit to be currently associated with the Brooklyn Nets."

Doesn't Nets owner Joe Tsai deserve similar scrutiny, with follow-up questions on camera (which Irving has faced, not Tsai), regarding, say, his notorious "open letter" lecturing the public about China or his company Alibaba's relationship w/the Chinese government?

That's not saying they're commensurate, but the level of pressure on Irving--a magical basketball player, not a moral beacon (though he's done a lot of charity)--seems incommensurate with the absence of pressure on Tsai.

A breather for Tsai?

Tsai might be breathing a sigh of relief that, after the suspension, Irving finally bent. That will allow him the team owner on Nov. 9 to accept the Onassis Medal from the urban advocacy organization Municipal Art Society for having "made an extraordinary contribution to New York City,” i.e., through philanthropy.

As I wrote for CommonEdge, the award seems misguided, given that the MAS has to forget its criticism of "supertall" towers around Central Park, as Tsai has invested some $345 million in one of them.

Beyond the obvious bending of MAS values in the interest of fundraising, there's that dicey moral issue. As I wrote:
While the MAS says it “lifts up the voices of the people in the debates that shape New York’s built environment and leads the way toward a more livable city from sidewalk to skyline,“ their awardees don’t necessarily share those ideals. Yes Tsai’s Social Justice Fund seeks to foster “a shared commitment to inclusiveness, justice, and equal opportunity” in Brooklyn. But in his professional life, he defers to the authoritarian government of China rather than lifting up the voices of people there.
The next chapter is the next coach

Maybe Irving won't play for the Nets again, maybe he will. But the story's not over. As NetsDaily's Kaplan writes:
So, Brooklyn will play a basketball game on Friday, in Washington. It will surely be one of the last in this chapter of Nets history, if this chapter is not already closed. Jacque Vaughn will coach the game, because the workplace-harasser Brooklyn is attempting to hire to extend this chapter, thankfully, has hit a snag in his hiring process. May it be a permanent one. We can only hope the foul stench this organization is currently radiating is not permanent, too.
See, it's been widely reported, though not confirmed, that the Nets, after firing Coach Steve Nash, are ready to hire their former Assistant Coach Ime Udoka, who last year took the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals, only to be suspended for violating team policies, which--again reportedly--involve an affair with someone connected with the team.

The argument for hiring Udoka I've read is that, given the short window of opportunity for the Nets, with their current personnel--Irving on a one-year contract, Kevin Durant getting older--to win a title or even advance in the playoffs, helping recoup some of the team's high costs.

The argument against hiring him is, well, that phrase about being "unfit to be currently associated with the Brooklyn Nets."

Selective morality?

But wait: when Tsai and the Nets flip-flopped last December--so long ago in Nets controversy time!--on allowing the unvaccinated Irving to play, the owner told the New York Post that it was not about morality or values:
“We’re trying to be practical. And I’ve always said I don’t want to make this a political issue,” Tsai told The Post by phone Friday night. “My only religion is to win games and win the championship. That’s where we are.”
Or are we? The drama's not over.