Kyrie Irving cites ‘responsibility’, not apology
NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving stopped short of formally apologizing Thursday for his controversial social media post about a book and movie containing anti-Semitic tropes — in a way that many in both Brooklyn Nets organization and the NBA front office were hoping to hear.
“I take responsibility for putting that out there,” Irving said in his first public comments since Saturday night’s contentious press conference. “Some of the things that were there were questionable, untrue. Like I said when you first asked me when I was sitting on that stage, I don’t believe everything that everybody puts out – it’s a documentary. So I take my responsibility.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, d statement released minutes before Irving spoke, said he was “disappointed” that Irving “did not offer an unqualified apology and more specifically condemn the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to release.” Silver added that he will personally meet with Irving within the next week.
But Irving again stood by his stance Thursday on both his decision to post a link to the film — which he has since deleted — and his comments after Saturday night’s game.
“I meant no harm,” Irving said. “I’m not the one who made the documentary.”
Irving spoke for just over six minutes Thursday in a press conference that was interrupted by a Nets PR official. He said some things in “Black Hebrews: Awake Black America” were incorrect, but he didn’t say he shouldn’t have linked to it, he asked reporters why they didn’t ask questions about black history in America.
“Where did you ask those same questions when I was a kid and learning about traumatic events in my family history and where I’m proud to come from,” Irving said, “and proud to stand here and why when I say it again I’m not going to back down, it has no ties to the dismissal of any other race or group.
“I’m just proud of my heritage and what we went through and the fact that it anchored me to the Jewish community and I’m here answering questions about whether or not I’m sorry for something I’ve done. t create and it was something that I shared, and I tell everyone that I take responsibility, but that’s where I sit.”
Irving was also specifically asked about his beliefs regarding the Holocaust.
“Those lies are unfortunate,” he said, referring to the film’s content. “And it’s not that I don’t believe in the Holocaust. I never said that. I never, ever said that. It didn’t come out of my mouth. I never tweeted it. I never liked anything like that. So the Holocaust in itself is an event that means something to a large group of people who have suffered something that could have been avoided.”
When asked specifically if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving chose not to answer the question directly.
“I’ll say it again. I don’t know how the label is justified because you’re asking me the same questions over and over again,” Irving said. “But this will not turn into a cycle of spin – questions on questions.
“I told you how I feel. I respect all walks of life and I accept all walks of life. That’s where I sit. … I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”
Irving also declined to directly answer whether he has met with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which he has issued a joint statement Wednesday night with the Nets and Irving.
“I was informed that they wanted to hold a meeting and we resolved it,” he said.
Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a tweet Thursday that the ADL “took (Irving) at his word when he said he took responsibility, but today he failed to follow through on that promise.”
The answer to the question “Do you have anti-Semitic beliefs” is always “NO” without hesitation. We took @KyrieIrving true to his word when he said he would take responsibility, but today he did not fulfill that promise. Kyrie obviously has a lot of work to do. https://t.co/0hQ6pEueOP
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 3, 2022
Irving and the Nets announced Wednesday that they will each donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes. But Silver said in his statement Thursday that Irving must move on.
“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,” the commissioner said.
The National Basketball Association also released a statement this week that reiterated a statement from the league earlier this week, which did not identify Irving. The NBPA also did not mention Irving, who is the union’s vice president and a member of its executive committee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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