Kyrie Irving took to Instagram to issue an apology after the Brooklyn Nets indefinitely suspended him for posting the Amazon link to a film on Twitter.
On October 27th, Irving shared an Amazon link to the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America The Movie to his Twitter account.
After sharing the link, numerous media outlets and even former NBA players attacked Irving claiming that he was anti-Semitic.
Charles Barkley called for Irving to be suspended on Inside the NBA on TNT saying, “I think the NBA dropped the ball. I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver] should have suspended him.”
He elaborated, “First of all, Adam’s Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million dollars and insult my religion. If you’re going to insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ‘No, you’re not going to take my $40 million and insult my religion. I think the NBA, they made a mistake.”
🎥 “I think he should’ve been suspended.” Charles Barkley and Shaq share their thoughts on the Kyrie Irving situation and the departure of Steve Nash pic.twitter.com/3riZvXz3cm
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) November 2, 2022
Nets owner Joe Tsai even went after his star player writing on Twitter, “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.” Tsai said.
“This is bigger than basketball.” he added.
Irving reacted to the attacks during a post-game press conference saying, “In terms of the backlash or what people call it, we’re in 2022, history is not supposed to be hidden from anybody. And I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion. I embrace all walks of life. You see it on all my platforms. I talk to all races, all cultures, all religions.”
“My response would be, it’s not about educating yourself on what Semitism is and what anti-Semitism is, it’s really about learning the root words of where these come from and understanding that this is an African heritage belonging to the people,” Irving stated. “Africa is in it whether we want to dismiss it or not. So the claims of anti-Semitism and who are the original Chosen people of God and we go into these religious conversations and it’s a big No-no. I don’t live my life that way.”
He elaborated, “I grew up in a melting pot and I say a melting pot of all races: white, black, red yellow, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. And you can see the way I live my life now. I’m not here to be divisive so they can push their agenda — I don’t want to say they because I’m not identifying anyone one group or race of people, but I’m in a unique position to have a level of influence on my community.”
“And what I post does not mean that I support everything that’s being said or everything that’s being done or I’m campaigning for anything. All I do is post things for my people in my community and those that it’s actually going to impact. Anybody else that has criticism and obviously it wasn’t meant for them,” he declared.
Irving also asserted, “I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me. We’re in 2022. History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody, and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion.”
More recently, he was asked by the press, “Do you have any anti-Semitic beliefs?”
Irving replied, “Again, I’m going to repeat. I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you ask me the same questions over and over again, but this is not going to turn into a spin around cycle of questions upon 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.”
When the media pressed him for a yes or no answer, Irving replied, “I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from. I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”
Kyrie Irving is asked if he has any anti-Semitic beliefs: pic.twitter.com/hHI8FFqMbs
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 3, 2022
Following these comments, the Nets announced they had indefinitely suspended Irving.
They issued a press release that began, “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.”
It continued, “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,” the statement asserted.
The team then announced the suspension, “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.”
Irving has since shared an apology in a lengthy Instagram post.
He began, “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. 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.”
“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,” he stated. “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.”
He went on, “I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism 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.”
“I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate,” Irving wrote. “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,” he concluded.
What do you make of Irving’s apology?