Nets suspend Kyrie at least 5 games after failure to disavow antisemitism
The Brooklyn Nets announced they're suspending guard Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games after he failed to disavow antisemitism.
Irving shared a link to a movie on Twitter that contained antisemitic tropes last week. He eventually deleted the tweet following significant backlash but never apologized for posting it during multiple opportunities in front of the media.
Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.
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. This was not the first time he had the opportunity - but failed - to clarify.
Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.
Late Thursday night, following Brooklyn's statement, Irving wrote an apology on Instagram, stating he posted a documentary containing "some false antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive."
"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 had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history," Irving said.
The Nets and Irving announced Wednesday that they would each donate $500,000 to work with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in an effort to fight antisemitism. Irving did not directly apologize in that statement, instead saying he took "responsibility" for the post.
Following the suspension, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt announced the organization will no longer be accepting money from Irving, saying, "It's clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions," according to SNY's Ian Begley.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Irving's tweet "reckless" earlier Thursday and expressed disappointment that the guard had yet to issue an unqualified apology.