Kyrie Irving doesn’t apologize for sharing video, but takes ‘responsibility’; Silver for meeting the Nets star
Irving spoke for just over six minutes, his first meeting with the media since Saturday, which it was controversial press conference in which he supported conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s views on a “new world order” and questioned the backlash he received for posting a link on Amazon to a documentary called “From Hebrews to Blacks: Black America Wake Up!”, a film with anti-Semitic views .
Just before Irving walked through the Nets gym to meet with reporters, Silver released a statement blasting Irving for his stance and actions afterward. The first NBA post condemning hate speech does not include Irving’s name. Neither did the tweet from the NBPA, of which Irving is vice president.
The NBA released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/vuTVhEegeh
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 29, 2022
Announcement from the NBPA.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) November 1, 2022
“Kyrie Irving made the reckless decision to post a link to a film that contains deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said in a statement. “While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with 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 publish. I will personally meet with Kyrie next week to discuss this situation.”
Asked if he apologized, Irving said: “I meant no harm. I’m not the one who made the documentary.”
In a joint statement Wednesday night, the Nets and Irving, in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, announced that Irving and organization each would donate $500,000 “to causes and organizations working to eradicate hatred and intolerance in our communities.” In a joint statement, Irving acknowledged his actions but did not apologize for them.
Joint statement by Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League pic.twitter.com/5szamIClsh
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 2, 2022
The New York Daily News reported that Irving did not meet specifically with the league, instead sending his father Drederick and stepmother/agent Shetellia. When asked about the Daily News report, Irving, again, did not give a direct answer.
“I was informed that they wanted to have a meeting,” Irving said. “And we’ve solved that.”
The Nets embark on a three-game road trip beginning Friday in Washington, DC, with back-to-back games in Charlotte on Saturday. The team heads to Dallas for a Monday night game against Mavericks before returning home. Ben Simmons will not travel with the team due to knee pain and Seth Curry will only play in one of the first two games as he returns from ankle surgery. Interim coach Jacque Vaughn didn’t touch on any of the issues surrounding Irving, including his status as a point guard for the trip.
Irving took only a few questions from reporters, repeating what he said Saturday, that “I don’t believe everything that everybody puts out there,” he said. “It’s a documentary. I take my responsibility.”
When asked for specifics on what he didn’t believe in the documentary, Irving said, “some of the criticism of the Jewish faith and community for sure. There were some things that were brought up that were unfortunate.”
Asked if he was surprised his post offended anyone, Irving gave this lengthy response:
“I think I can ask a better question, which is just ‘Where were you when I was a kid and realized 300 million of my ancestors were buried in America?'” Irving said. “Where did you ask those same questions when I was a kid dealing with learning about the traumatic events in my family history and what I’m proud to come from. And why I’m proud to stand here. And why when I repeat that I will not back down, it has nothing to do with rejecting any other race or group of people. I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through and the fact that this has anchored me to the Jewish community and I’m here answering questions about whether or not I’m sorry for something that I didn’t create and that’s something that I’ve shared and I tell everybody if I take responsibility then I sit there.
“So, these same questions you’re asking, I deal with it as a melanically pigmented person, all over the world and I deal with racial prejudice in relation to skin color. Humiliating me because of my religious beliefs. And I’m still sitting in this seat standing up. So I take full responsibility again, I repeat, for posting something on my Instagram or Twitter that may have contained unfortunate untruths.
“But I’m also a human being who’s 30 years old and I grew up in a country that told me I’m worthless, I come from a slave class and I come from a people who should be treated the way we’re treated every day. So I’m not here to compare anyone’s crimes or the tragic events their families have faced for generations. I’m just here to continue to expose the things that keep our world in the dark. I am the light, I am the beacon. That’s what I’m here for. You ask me questions about basketball, I give you my professional opinion. You ask me about other things, I give you my opinion. It encounters what you believe to be perception or delusion. You guys are exploring my life. Every day. And you justify it by serving your own purpose, which I respect. I would like the same respect in return. Figure it out as well as anyone else. So please keep the same energy when we talk about the anti-other stuff. Just because I’m publishing a documentary doesn’t mean I’m anti-Semitic. And that doesn’t mean I automatically stand with everyone who believes that.”
“It’s an unfortunate time we’re in, but I’m glad I can stand on the truth because I’m not afraid of these microphones, these cameras. I’ve been. To look everyone in the eye and tell you the truth. To be proud of who I am. Any label you put on me, I can throw away because I’m learning. I know the Oxford dictionary, have you looked it up? One of the biggest mistakes I had as a child was that I didn’t know a European or Western language, until I started looking up and understanding the definitions and why they say if you want to fool a black man put it in a book. All my life I’ve wondered why they said that. Now I’m 30 years old and I know that reading is a superpower because it helps me understand where I’m going and where I’ve come from. Like a tree with roots.”
At Monday’s game, eight people sat courtside wearing T-shirts that read “Fight Anti-Semitism,” which was fine with Irving. After his monologue, pressed on whether he had anti-Semitic views, Irving, again, repeated that he “respects all spheres of life”, and his release of the documentary does not reflect his views.
“I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from,” Irving said.
Irving’s latest comments added to an unprecedented week for the Nets organization. Steve Nash and the Nets split Tuesday after a 2-5 start and The AthleticShams Charania reports it suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udokaa former Nets assistant under Nash, will take his place.
He suspended Udoku Celtics September for violating team policies stemming from an inappropriate and intimate relationship in the workplace. In a press conference Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said he has “absolutely not” hired a new coach and added that the organization is doing its due diligence in vetting candidates.
Asked why Irving was still playing, Marks began his response by saying the point guard would not be speaking to reporters Tuesday after avoiding reporters Monday in an attempt to “shut up” Irving.
“We don’t want to make a big fuss at this point,” Marks said Tuesday.
Two days later, the “fuss” still hasn’t stopped. Irving is still playing, everything indicates that Udoka is on his way, and now the NBA commissioner has stepped into the situation.
With Simmons out, the Nets are back to being a two-game winning team of Durant and Irving. Durant said that Irving’s situation did not affect the Nets’ game, despite his friend scoring only four points against the Nets. Bulls in Tuesday’s loss. As Irving’s controversies continue, so do the Nets’ attempts to turn their season around.
(Photo: Elsa / Getty Images)
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