Why it matters that Kyrie Irving keeps saying the Earth is flat

Kyrie Irving made headlines during All-Star Weekend by letting the world know that he thinks the Earth is flat. It started out on a podcast with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, then escalated when he backed up his words during a media availability, and then he got tired of people coming after him asking questions about it, so he fired back.

A reporter got fed up with Kyrie’s bullshit and called him out on what he said and why it matters, and Kyrie had no answer for him. He kept coming back to “Does it matter?” and “Why does it matter what I think?”, and when the reporter had a real, substantive answer as to why it matters what Kyrie thinks and says in a public forum, he ignored it and went right back to asking the same question that the reporter already had answered.

It matters, Kyrie. It matters what you say and think because there are millions of people who watch everything you do and listen to everything you say. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of children who search your name on YouTube and Twitter, looking for highlights or interviews with their favorite player. They see stories that you said the Earth is flat, they see you back that statement up, and they don’t know any better but to believe you.

This might be a game to you, because you think it’s funny to troll reporters and see what they’ll print about you, or because you want to make a point about how the media will run with any story you feed them. Whether or not you and your teammates get a kick out of all this or you make a point about the media makes no difference when a third-grader walks into school next week and tells his teacher that he believes the Earth is flat because that’s what his favorite basketball player said over the weekend. You indicate at the end of the above clip that a lot of what your education system told you was true ended up being false. How is a elementary school teacher in Cleveland supposed to feel when her kids come into class and let her know that they don’t believe what she tells them anymore because Kyrie said the Earth is flat and that the education system doesn’t tell the truth?

People look up to you. Kids, especially, look up to their favorite athletes and respect you and what you do and say, more than their teachers or even their parents. They idolize you, and you’re purposefully misinforming them, misleading them because you’re trying to have some fun with the media or prove a point about what the media will or won’t do with what you say.

I respect your right to say whatever you want about how the media treats athletes and coaches. Rip us, refuse to talk to us, do whatever you want. And if you’re trying to make a point about the media, your point is probably pretty well-founded. Every sports outlet in the country ran with this story because it got a ton of clicks and generated a ton of revenue for their companies. And yeah, that sucks, but that means that millions of people were clicking on stories about it and reading and listening to what you said.

I don’t mind you having fun with the media or making a point about what pointless and stupid stories we turn into league-wide news on a daily basis. But I do mind you doing it in this way, spewing this sort of misinformation, in an era where we literally have a President who won his election on misinformation and misleading more than 60 million people. The people who report on your words might be in on the game (it seemed as though Arash Markazi was in on the joke with you in the clip above) but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t real people, real children out there who weren’t in on the joke and who will believe what you say, not because you’re an expert, but because they love watching you play basketball.

Of course, there’s another side of all this. If you really do believe it, then nothing about what I’ve written here matters. If you don’t think you’re spreading misinformation, then you think your belief is correct and changes the facts. And if this is true, well,

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