Kyrie Irving apologizes for Brooklyn Nets suspension for ‘failure to disavow anti-Semitism’ after Twitter controversy

Kyrie Irving apologizes for Brooklyn Nets suspension for ‘failure to disavow anti-Semitism’ after Twitter controversy


Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving apologized late Thursday for tweeting a link to a documentary that has been criticized as anti-Semitic, saying he takes full responsibility for his decision to share the content with his nearly five million followers.

The NBA star posted an apology on his verified Instagram account hours after the Nets announced a five-game suspension for his subsequent defense of the decision.

“To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “Initially, I reacted emotionally to being unfairly labeled an anti-Semite, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.

“It was not my intention to disrespect any Jewish cultural history related to the Holocaust or to perpetuate any hatred. I am learning from this unfortunate event and I hope we can find understanding between all of us,” Irving continued.

Last week, Irving was slammed by Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA, among others, for tweeting a link to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Blacks: Black America Awakens,” which is based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. declared anti-Semitic by civil rights groups.

Before Irving shared his apology, his team released a announcement on Twitter saying they had repeatedly tried to help Irving “realize the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with the release of a film containing deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hatred.”

The Nets said they were “appalled” Thursday when Irving “unequivocally refused to say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” during a media session.

“This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify,” the team said.

During a press conference earlier Thursday, Irving was asked if he was apologetic when he said he didn’t mean to cause any offense after tweeting a link to the movie.

“I meant no harm,” Irving replied. “I’m not the one who made the documentary.”

“I take full responsibility, I’ll say it again, for posting something on my Instagram or Twitter that may have contained unfortunate untruths,” he said.

“I take responsibility for putting it out there,” Irving continued. “Some things that were there were questionable, untrue.

“Like I said the first time you all asked me while I was sitting on that stage. I don’t believe everything everyone posts. It’s a documentary. So I take my responsibility.”

Asked if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving replied: “I respect all walks of life. I accept all walks of life. That’s where I sit.”

When pressed to answer yes or no to the question, he replied: “I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.

Responding to that response on Twitter, the executive director of the Anti-Defamation League — “a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred that undermine justice and the fair treatment of every individual” — said Irving had “a lot of work to do.”

“The answer to the question ‘Do you have anti-Semitic beliefs’ is always ‘NO’ without ambiguity. We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he was taking responsibility, but today he didn’t follow through on that promise,” Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Thursday. “Kyrie obviously has a lot of work to do.”

The Nets said in a statement Thursday: “This failure to renounce anti-Semitism when a clear opportunity to do so is deeply troubling, contrary to the values ​​of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we feel that he is not currently fit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have determined that Kyrie will serve the suspension without pay until he completes a series of objective remedial measures that address the adverse impact of his conduct, and the suspension period is no less than five games.”

Irving dribbles against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of Monday's Oct. 31 game.

That media appearance followed Wednesday’s announcement by Irving and the Nets that they would both donate $500,000 to anti-hate organizations.

In an earlier joint statement from Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, the 30-year-old said he took “responsibility” for the “negative impact” his post had on the Jewish community.

But Thursday night, after the suspension was announced, Greenblatt tweeted that the ADL could not “in good conscience accept” Irving’s donation.

“(Irving) has been given ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antisemitism. He failed at almost every step along the way. This suspension is deserved,” Greenblatt he said. “We were optimistic, but after watching the debacle at the press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie doesn’t feel responsible for his actions.”

Earlier this week, NBA analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said he thought the league “dropped the ball” on Irving and believed the player should have been suspended.

On Tuesday, when asked why Irving was not disciplined for his actions, Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters, “I think we’re having these discussions behind the scenes.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said yes disappointed” with Irving after the guard did not apologize or condemn “the harmful content contained in the film he chose to publish”. Silver will meet with Irving next week, the commissioner said in a statement Thursday.

“Kyrie Irving made the reckless decision to post a link to a movie that contains deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said.

“While we appreciate the fact that he has agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he did not offer an unqualified apology and more specifically condemn the vile and harmful content. contained in the film he chose to release.”

Irving was not available to the media on Monday or Tuesday after the Nets’ games on those days.

Irving talks with now-former head coach Steve Nash during a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.

The joint statement said the donations were made to “root out hatred and intolerance in our communities”.

Greenblatt, of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “At a time when anti-Semitism has reached historic levels, we know that the best way to fight the oldest hatred is to confront it head-on, but also to change hearts and minds.”

Kanye Westwho has been criticized after making anti-Semitic remarks on social media and in interviews, showed his support for Irving, tweeting a picture of the guard on Thursday.

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