Hiring Ime Udoka sends a clear message: A shameless, no accountability culture resides in Brooklyn

We have lost the impact of shame in our society. The notion that certain things shouldn’t be done, and certain things shouldn’t be said, because they would bring shame to us and embarrassment to our families. The Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving and the NBA are showcasing this thought for the masses to see.

Amidst the never ending circus that is Kyrie Irving and his soul searching journey, the Nets attempted to silence the noise surrounding antisemitism by simply welcoming the backlash of hiring a coach who is currently suspended for inappropriate sexual relations with a coworker.

None of this is in the HR handbook, but when have the Nets ever considered the right and sensible act?

The Kyrie Irving and Ime Udoka issues are inextricably entangled in that they both involve the Nets and send a strong message, but it’s one the Nets should not be proud of.

Udoka is reportedly on the verge of being awarded the same job in a different organization, not even two months into his suspension.

If hired by the Nets, Udoka will hold an introductory press conference at some point. Would he provide an explanation? Would he ask for forgiveness? How would he convince the public that the Nets organization is not condoning inappropriate conduct in the workplace, presuming that’s something they would want to establish?

His potential hire also comes on the heels of the Nets’ — and quite frankly, the NBA’s — poor handling of Kyrie Irving after he tweeted and posted on Instagram an Amazon link for a 2018 film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” that includes anti-Semitic tropes.

Black people in the NBA — players, coaches, executives, and on and on — often feel like they’re screaming into the void when it comes to issues of race in the NBA. They wait in vain for White allies to say “you’re heard and you’re right, and we will try to make this better.” NBA players stood en masse behind the Bucks in the NBA bubble when Milwaukee’s players refused to play after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. They walked out together, Black and White, just as they marched together in cities around the country after the police murder of George Floyd. Rightly, they demanded that White people around the country, this one time, be quiet and try to listen to the pain Black folks were in.

So this time, those same players can’t be silent when someone like Irving cozies up to — and, there is no getting around this — a piece of propaganda that deals in anti-Jewish stereotypes.

Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted on Oct. 28, “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.”

He threaded that tweet with a second response, which read: “This is bigger than basketball.”

Yeah, and so is this situation with Udoka. Tsai can’t hold Irving accountable then turn around and reward another man in the middle of a different scandal a leadership role.

The other entity in this conversation is the league. How does the NBA, with the information from the Celtics’ investigation, not step in and stop this hire? What does this truly say about the NBA — which owns the WNBA and strives to be a forward-thinking league?

The NBA has spoken for years about making sure women work in safe environments without fearing harassment. It has league-wide programs already in place that focus on the prohibition of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

But the NBA hasn’t taken a hard enough stance to support women.

That can change, starting with the league stepping in to make sure Udoka serves his time and is not rewarded with another head coaching position, thereby undermining women. Female staff members should know that their concerns are taken seriously, and the league has an opportunity to finally get it right.

On Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks held a news conference in Brooklyn and shared what he was looking for in the next head coach. His response?

“A leader,” he said. “We’re looking for that for our group. We’re looking for somebody to have poise, charisma, accountability.”

It’s not too late for Marks and the Nets to practice what they preach.

As the losses and distractions mount, the Nets must ask themselves if Kyrie Irving is even worth it

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