Kyrie Irving won’t be touching the court against the Washington Wizards tonight! And that’ll be in effect for the next four games after. On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets suspended the player without pay after his continued efforts to reject Anti-Semitic beliefs, per ESPN.
Hours later, he took accountability and apologized on his Instagram.
“To all Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary,” Kyrie wrote.
The backlash began last week after he shared a link to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which civil rights groups have dubbed anti-semitic, per CNN.
He opened his statement by addressing the link he shared and how he plans to move forward.
“While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions,” Kyrie wrote. “I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.”
A Face-Off With Media Led To The Five-Game Suspension
The Nets deemed Kyrie “currently unfit to be associated” with their organization following a tense media session early Thursday. During the session, Kyrie took responsibility for posting the link he says had “questionable” and “untrue” things.
A reporter asked Kyrie if saying he “meant no harm” was his version of apologizing. Before the media session, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was disappointed Kyrie “has not offered an unqualified apology” and denounced the film’s “vile and harmful content.”
“I didn’t mean to cause any harm, I’m not the one that made the documentary,” Kyrie responded.
Later in the session, Irving redirected a question about whether he has anti-Semitic beliefs.
“Again, I’m going to repeat, I don’t how the label becomes justified because you guys ask me the same questions over and over again, but this is not going to turn into a spin around cycle of questions among questions, I told you guys how I felt. I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit,” Kyrie responded.
The team was unimpressed by the player’s statements in the session.
“We were dismayed today when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the Nets said in their statement. “This was not the first time he had the opportunity, but failed, to clarify.”
The Nets added that Kyrie’s refusal to disavow antisemitism “is deeply disturbing, is against the values of [their] organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team.” Irving had already pledged to match the team’s $500,000 donation to organizations fighting against hate.
But as a result of the media session, Kyrie will sit out the next five games. And the team says the suspension will last until Irving “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.”
Irving Says He Had No Intention To “Perpetuate Hate”
In his statement, Kyrie again attempted to clarify where he stands on the documentary’s anti-Semitic rhetoric.
“I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against antisemitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with,” Kyrie said. “I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I am.”