Kyrie Irving apologizes for Brooklyn Nets suspension after Twitter controversy
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving apologized late Thursday, saying he takes full responsibility for his decision to share the content with his nearly five million followers.
The NBA star posted his apology on his verified Instagram account after the Nets later defended his decision and announced his five-game suspension.
“To all of the Jewish families and communities who were hurt and hurt by my writing, I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “Initially, I was motivated by being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hate speech in the documentary.”
“I had no intention of discrediting any Jewish history or perpetuating hatred regarding the Holocaust. “I’m learning from this tragedy and I hope we can all come to terms,” Irving continued.
Irving was slammed last week by Nets owner Joe Tye and the NBA for tweeting a link to the 2018 movie “From Hebrews to Negroes: Awakening Black America,” based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. It was condemned as anti-Semitic by civil rights groups.
Before Irving shared his apology, his team one Statement on Twitter “Repeated attempts were made to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions,” said Irving, who began publicizing the film’s disturbing anti-Semitic hatred.
The Nets said they were “shocked” on Thursday when Irving “refused to say that he has any anti-Semitic beliefs or that there is no specific hate in the film” during a media session.
“This was not the first time he had an opportunity – but failed – to make it clear,” the group said.
During a press conference last Thursday, Irving was asked if he was apologizing after tweeting a link to the film, saying he didn’t mean to cause any offense.
“I didn’t mean to do any harm,” Irving replied. “I didn’t make the documentary.”
“I take full responsibility, I repeat, because I post something on my Instagram or Twitter, there may be some sad lies,” he said.
“I take responsibility for posting this,” Irving continued. “Some things in there that are suspicious, untrue.
“As I said before, you all asked me sitting on that stage. I don’t believe everything everyone posts. It’s a documentary. So I will take responsibility,” he said.
Asked if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving said: “I respect all walks of life.” I accept all walks of life. That’s where I sat.
When pressed to say yes or no to the question, he replied, “If I know where I come from, I can’t be anti-Semitic.”
Responding to that response on Twitter, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League — “an organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, justice and fair treatment for every individual” — said Irving “had a lot of work to do.” He said.
“The answer to the question ‘Do you have any anti-Semitic beliefs’ is always an unequivocal ‘no.’ We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility, but he didn’t make that promise today, Jonathan Greenblatt said. He wrote on Thursday. “Obviously Kyrie has a lot of work to do.
In a statement released Thursday, the Nets said: “This is deeply troubling given the clear opportunity to reject anti-Semitism, an act that goes against the values of our organization and harms the team. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that he is not eligible to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets at this time. We have determined that Kyrie will be suspended without pay until he completes a series of corrective measures to address the ongoing damage to his character and a suspension period of no less than five games.
That media appearance followed Irving and the Nets’ announcement Wednesday that they would both donate $500,000 to anti-hate organizations.
In an earlier joint statement between Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, the 30-year-old said he took “responsibility” for the “negative impact” he had on the Jewish community.
But Thursday night, after the ban was announced, Greenblatt tweeted that the ADL could not “in good conscience” accept Irving’s donation.
“(Irving) was given ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antitrust. He failed at almost every step along the way. This suspension is well deserved,” Greenblatt said. he said. “We were optimistic, but after watching the controversy of the press conference, it is clear that Kerry does not feel any responsibility for his actions.”
Earlier this week, NBA analyst and Basketball 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 wasn’t disciplined for his actions, Nets general manager Shane Marks told reporters, “I think we’re having those conversations behind the scenes.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “The Guardian was disappointed with Irvine after he did not apologize or condemn the “harmful content in the film he chose to make public”. 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 contained deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said.
“While we appreciate his agreement to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, I am deeply disappointed by his failure to issue a undeserved apology and specifically condemn offensive and harmful content. It is included in the film he chooses to make public.
Irving was not available to the media on Monday or Tuesday following Nets games on those days.
The joint statement said the donation was made “to eradicate hatred and intolerance in our society”.
Greenblatt, with 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 both confront it head-on and change hearts and minds.”
Kanye West, who has been criticized for making anti-Semitic comments on social media and in interviews, tweeted his support for Irving on Thursday with a picture of his bodyguard.