Matt Barnes slams Kyrie Irving: 'Sitting out without a cause or a purpose defeats the purpose'

Matt Barnes has been vocal on issues of race and its relationship to the NBA.

On Monday, the 14-year NBA veteran weighed in on the Kyrie Irving latest. He did not hold back.

Speaking on his podcast with fellow NBA veteran Stephen Jackson, Barnes slammed Irving for his push to tie the resumption of the NBA season to the race relations reckoning taking place in the United States in the aftermath of George Floyd’s homicide.

‘Kyrie needs to quit bulls---ing’

“Kyrie needs to quit bulls---ing, because what I heard was Kyrie wanted to go to Orlando to support his team,” Barnes said. “They didn’t let him. So then he flipped the script talking about I’m gonna give up everything.

“You can give up everything and go do the Maya Moore s--- if you really want to. At the same time, sitting out without a cause or a purpose defeats the purpose. And then it also divides us. ... I respect people don’t want to play because if it’s COVID and you’re putting your family at risk, I get that. But if it’s for the movement of the country right now, we have to take charge of this.”

The flippant Maya Moore mention references the WNBA star’s decision to sit out consecutive seasons to work directly on criminal justice reform. The 2014 WNBA MVP and six-time All-Star with the Minnesota Lynx announced in January that she would miss a second straight season and the Olympics before they were postponed as she works to help a family friend overturn a 50-year prison sentence.

Matt Barnes is not on board with Kyrie Irving. (Jeff Chiu/Pool via Reuters)

Irving’s controversial stance

Irving is calling for NBA players to reconsider resuming the season in part so that players can focus on fighting oppression. Irving’s stance has drawn criticism from some in NBA circles who don’t see a correlation between playing basketball and fighting for social justice and believe that resuming the season only enhances their platform.

Count Barnes among that camp.

Barnes has addressed the issue before, telling Dunk Bait on June 7 that he had heard about players not wanting to resume the season in light of the social justice protests taking over the nation.

Jackson defends Irving

Jackson, who became a face of the movement as a friend of Floyd’s, defended Irving after Barnes’ candid criticism on Monday.

“He’s passionate about this,” Jackson said of Irving. “I just think he understands this moment. He’s just like me. I don’t have all the answers. ...

“He done called me crying, because he literally knows I’m putting everything on the line.”

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