Kyrie Irving is returning to the Brooklyn Nets after serving his 8-game suspension
Kyrie Irving eight game suspension ended on Sunday as the star point guard prepared for the Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Irving has not played for the Nets since Nov. 1. The Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 3 after that he tweeted a link to the documentary containing anti-Semitic messages, followed by an initial refusal to issue an apology.
Irving has since issued multiple apologies, including during his pregame media availability on Sunday.
“I just want to offer my deepest apologies to everyone who has been affected these past few weeks, especially my Jewish relatives, my black relatives, all races and cultures,” Irving said Sunday. “I feel like we’ve all felt the impact and I’m not advocating anything like hate speech or anti-Semitism or anything that’s ‘anti’ against the human race.”
“I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take responsibility for my actions,” Irving said.
Irving received a warm welcome from the crowd in Brooklyn during player introductions before tipoff. He finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds in the Nets’ 127-115 win over the Grizzlies.
Irving said after the game that it was “good” to be back on the court.
“I missed my teammates,” Irving told reporters. “The coaching staff missed him. Just to prepare with them in the morning and go to the game, it was good.”
When asked if he would appeal the suspension, Irving said he would leave that decision up to his legal team.
“I have strong people, men and women, around me who will do anything to keep me safe and my family safe and to protect each other, so I’m sure things will get done in the future,” Irving said. “There’s no timetable on that right now.”
Speaking before Sunday’s game, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn showed no hesitation about his decision to put Irving on the floor to start the game.
“He will start and we will see where his fitness is, the pace of the game we want to play. I’m excited to get him back on the floor with our group, and he’s going to fit right in,” Vaughn said.
During an interview Saturday with SNY’s Ian Begley, Irving said he reacted emotionally to being called an “anti-Semite.”
“I felt like I was protecting my character and I was just reacting out of pure defense and just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought I was labeled as anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, and I felt like it was just so disrespectful to ask me if I was whether I’m anti-Semitic or not,” Irving said.
The Nets’ next game is on Tuesday at the Philadelphia 76ers.
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