- The Nets are suspending Kyrie Irving for a minimum of 5 games for “failure to disavow anti-Semitism.”
- Irving shared a link to a film containing anti-Semitic tropes over the weekend
- Though Irving said he didn’t mean to harm anyone and took responsibility for sharing the movie, he has avoided apologizing or denouncing anti-Semitism.
The Brooklyn Nets announced on Thursday that star point guard Kyrie Irving will be suspended for “no less than five games” for his “failure to disavow antisemitism.”
Irving over the weekend shared a link on his Twitter and Instagram to a film titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Irving did not post any caption with the link.
The film, which can be viewed on Amazon, contains antisemitic tropes and contains quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler.
—Pablo Torre (@PabloTorre) October 31, 2022
On Saturday, after linking to the film on his social media, Irving got into a tense exchange with ESPN’s Nick Friedell in which he disagreed with the notion that he was promoting the film. Irving repeatedly defended sharing the movie, saying he wouldn’t “stand down” on his beliefs, though he said he wasn’t targeting any race or religion.
—𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) October 30, 2022
On Wednesday, the Nets released a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League announcing the team and Irving would both make $500,000 donations to “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
In the statement, Irving acknowledged the “harm” he had caused the Jewish community but stopped short of apologizing.
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said in the statement. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles. I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen. So from my family and I, we meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people, and wish to only be a beacon of truth and light.”
The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reported that Irving did not personally meet with the Anti-Defamation League and instead sent his dad and stepmom/agent.
On Thursday, NBA Commission Adam Silver expressed disappointment over Irving’s lack of apology in a statement of his own.
“I am disappointed that [Irving] has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize,” Silver’s statement read. “I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”
After not speaking with the media earlier in the week, Irving addressed reporters on Thursday and once again avoided apologizing in another tense session.
Irving said he took responsibility for sharing the film but said he didn’t create it.
“When I repeat myself that I’m not gonna stand down, it has nothing to do with dismissing any other race or group of people, I just am proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through,” Irving said. “The fact that this has pinned me against the Jewish community, and I’m here answering questions on whether I’m sorry or not, on something I didn’t create, it was something I shared and I’m telling everybody I’m taking responsibility, then that’s where I sit.”
Asked if he has any antisemitic beliefs, Irving said: “I don’t know how the label becomes justified … I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit … I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”
The Nets said in a statement that Irving is “unfit” to play for the team.
“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the statement read. “This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.
“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
The Nets statement suggests that Irving’s suspension could last longer if he doesn’t apologize for sharing the film.
“We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.”
Speaking on “SportsCenter,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “SportsCenter said Irving’s future in Brooklyn is in doubt.
“He’s going to have to remedy this situation. I think right now his future in Brooklyn, it’s fair to say, is unclear.”