Fans greet Kyrie Irving courtside wearing yarmulkes, ‘Fight Anti-Semitism’ T-shirts at Nets game
A group of fans sat courtside at Monday’s Nets-Pacers game in Brooklyn wearing T-shirts that said “Fight Anti-Semitism.” The men in the group wore yarmulkes, as is customary in some Jewish communities.
In his final meeting with the media on Saturday, Irving stood by his tweet and was combative with reporters when asked about it.
“I can post whatever I want,” Irving said when asked by ESPN’s Nick Friedell why he promoted the film on his social media.
The Nets declined to make Irving available to the media after Monday’s game, a 116-109 Nets win.
Rolling Stone reports that the film Irving shared promotes tropes and “ideas consistent with the more extreme factions of black Hebrew Israelis, who have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially anti-Semitism.”
Before Saturday’s news conference, Irving denied the “anti-Semitic label being pushed at me” in a separate post on Twitter.
Irving tweeted the first link to the film on Thursday. The tweet remained live until his Saturday press conference through Sunday. until Monday, Irving wiped it away. His tweet drew condemnation from Nets owner Joseph Tsai and the NBA.
Tsai tweeted Thursday that he was “disappointed that Kyrie appears to be supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation.”
The Nets released a separate statement saying they “strongly condemn and have zero tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech.”
The NBA then released a statement on Sunday that “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and goes against the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect.”
Irving posted his tweet amid a backlash over Kanye West’s anti-Semitic messages that have led to companies and individuals cutting professional ties to the rapper. Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald broke up with West’s agency Donda Sports after Adidas parted ways with West and his Yeezy sneaker line amid mounting public pressure.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is Jewish, co-sponsored a TV ad in response to a barrage of anti-Semitic messages urging viewers to “Stand Up Against Jew Hatred”. The ads ran during Sunday’s NFL games.
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