Nets suspend Kyrie Irving for denying anti-Semitic beliefs
Irving, who agreed Wednesday to donate $500,000 to support anti-hate causes in partnership with the ADL, “took responsibility” for the post but did not apologize when he met with reporters Thursday afternoon.
“Over the past few days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to get him to understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, beginning with a disturbing anti-Semitic film.” The Nets said in a statement.. “In this challenging environment, we believe that taking the path of education is the right path and we think we have made progress in our collective commitment to end hate and intolerance.”
A former team psychologist accused the Spurs of ignoring Josh Primo’s complaints.
“We were shocked that when given the opportunity today at the media session, Kerry refused to say he was not anti-Semitic or to unequivocally address the hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had had the opportunity to explain – but failed -.
The Nets concluded that Irving’s refusal to “decline anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity” was “deeply disturbing” and “detrimental to the team.”
In an Instagram post Thursday evening, Irving finally expressed remorse and apologized to “all Jewish families and communities who were hurt and harmed by my writing,” admitting that he was associated with a film that “contains some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and stories.” It was untrue and offensive language.”
Irving continued: “Initially, I was motivated by being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic, rather than focusing on the process of healing my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hate speech in the documentary. I’d like to clear up any confusion about where I stand by posting the documentary without context, and apologizing for a different belief in the documentary I agree with.
After Irving’s suspension was first broken, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the nonprofit would not accept Irving’s $500,000 pledge, which was to be matched by the Nets.
“We were optimistic, but after watching the press conference controversy, it’s clear that Kerry feels no responsibility for his actions.” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. “The ADL cannot in good conscience accept the donation.”
Irving linked to the movie “From Hebrews to Negroes: Awakening Black America” in a social media post last Thursday. When reporters took to social media on Saturday about the film’s content and the earlier Alex Jones “New World Order” conspiracy theory, Irving denied being anti-Semitic, but was unapologetic, saying, “History shouldn’t be hidden from anyone.” He said that he did not commit any illegal act or hurt anyone during the heat relay. Irving added that the “New World Order” conspiracy theory is “true.”
Last week, the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, the Nets and team owner Joe Tye issued statements condemning anti-Semitism. Irving eventually deleted the post without any public comment, and a group of eight fans sat at the Nets’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday wearing T-shirts that read “Fighting Anti-Semitism.”
In a joint statement with the Nets and the ADL on Wednesday, Irving said he was “aware of the negative impact my post has had on the Jewish community” and that he “did no harm.”
But Silver felt that wasn’t enough of a response to Irving’s “reckless decision” to link to the film. In a statement Thursday, the commissioner said he was “disappointed” that Irving had not issued an “undeserved apology” or condemned the “obscene and harmful content contained in the film.”
When Irving was given another chance to explain his position Thursday afternoon, he He refused to apologize again..
“Where were you when I was growing up knowing that 300 million of my ancestors were buried in America? Where were the people you asked those same questions when I was a child about the traumatic events of my family history and why I’m proud of where I’m from and why I’m standing here? As I repeat myself, when I say I will not step down, it has nothing to do with dismissing any race or group of people,” Irving said. “I am proud of my heritage and where we are. This connects me to the Jewish community, and I’m here to answer questions about my unforgiveness for something I didn’t create. It was something that I shared and I’m telling everyone that I take responsibility – that’s where I sit.
In order for Irving to return to the court, the Nets must satisfy “a series of corrective measures that address the harmful effects of his actions,” he said. After more than two months of refusing to vaccinate Irving, Brooklyn reversed course and allowed him to return part-time in January.
Irving will miss Brooklyn’s visit of the Washington Wizards on Friday and will be sidelined until at least Nov. 12. His first possible return is a November 13 game against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
The 30-year-old is averaging 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists and is making $36.9 million in the final year of his contract. Under NBA rules, this ban would cost Irving at least $1.25 million in salary.
After getting off to a slow start thanks to Irving’s controversial behavior, the Nets parted ways with coach Steve Nash on Tuesday. The 2-6 Brooklyn Nationals have explored the possibility of replacing the Boston Celtics’ Im Udoka, who is serving a season-long suspension for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
After Brooklyn parted ways with Nash, Irving finished with four points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field in Tuesday’s 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the fewest of his four-year Nets tenure.
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