The National Basketball Association is widely regard as America’s most socially progressive league. Its rosters are roughly 75 percent Black, but also feature players from around the world. They have hired two women as executive directors of the players union. Michele Roberts was the first Black woman to hold that position. Tamika Tremaglio, who became the new executive director in January, is the second. Over 10 percent of NBA team presidents or CEOs are women, easily the highest number among American team sports.

But despite all that progress, sometimes the league doesn’t handle things well. A pair of recent high-profile incidents exposed the league to some ugly publicity, and one nearly caused a confrontation between the players union and the league. The first involved a now former coach, and the second a player. In both instances, rather than proceed behind closed doors and minimize leaks and public comment, various team and league officials chose to hold press conferences, issue public statements and generally keep things brewing. in the news cycle longer than they needed to be there.

The first involved former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, suspended for a year by the team for an alleged improper sexual relationship with a woman member of the organization. Had the Celtics simply issued a statement saying Udoka was being suspended for an egregious violation of team rules, there would have been lots of speculation, but no one would know any details.

Instead the Celtics issued a statement saying the reason was for ing in “an improper consensual relationship with a member of the organization.” That instantly triggered a wave of uninformed gossip types and online publicity hounds doing such disgusting things as posting videos of various women working for the Celtics and wondering if that was the one? The Celtics subsequently held a press conference where they denounced the people who did that, but they triggered that debacle with their behavior. To this day, no one really knows exactly what happened and who was involved. It should never have gotten to this point, Udoka remains on suspension, though he was briefly in consideration for a new head coaching job with the Brooklyn Nets, the team he once worked for. At the last minute, the Nets changed their mind and made interim coach Jacques Vaughn th permanent head coach.

But as poorly as the Celtics handled that one, the Nets did even worse with a controversy involving Kyrie Irving. After Irving posted a link to a film that many, particularly those in the Jewish community, felt was Anti-Semitism. The Nets instandly started issuing statements, and eventually suspended Irving after he wouldn’t directly answer a question in a press conference concerning whether he was Anti-Semitic.

In subsequent days, both NBA Commissioner Alan Silver, who talked with Irving personally at length, and his former college coach Mike Krzyzewski, who said he stood by his former player. Silver absolved him of any Anti-SEmitism.

Like all forms of bigotry, racism and hatred, Anti-Semitism is vile and evil. Any decent human being deplores it. Irving has since admitted that he wasn’t fully aware of what was in the film, and there is a long history and connection between Judaism, Africa and African Americans. Whether this film belongs in the same category as the many scholarly books written on the subject by academics is another question. But the Nets treatment of Kyrie Irving did and does nothing to further the cause of fighting Anti-Semitism, and only made him a sympathetic figure.

Fortunately, it looks as though Irving will soon be back with the Nets and playing again. Hopefully the league has taken a good, long and hard look at how they handled both the Udoka and Irving situations and won’t repeat these blunders if/when new problems arise.