On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving without pay for at least five games due to their disappointment in his refusal to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
The Brooklyn Nets have released Irving, calling him “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” hours after Irving refused to apologize for tweeting a link to an antisemitic work, as requested by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
“We were disappointed today that, when presented with the opportunity in a media session, Kyrie refused to categorically state that he does not hold any antisemitic beliefs and to specifically acknowledge hateful material in the film. The Nets said in a statement, “This is not the first time he has had a chance to clear but has chosen not to.”
A failure to disavow antisemitism when presented with a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, goes against the values of our organization, and is unacceptable team play. For this reason, we cannot in good conscience have him represent the Brooklyn Nets at this time.
Irving’s refusal to apologize occurred just hours before the FBI reported receiving credible information of a “broad” threat to synagogues in New Jersey, Irving’s home state.
The Nets claimed they had made several attempts over the past few days to help Irving see the danger in his words and actions, but during an interview with the point guard following Thursday’s practice, it was clear that nothing had changed.
Irving would simply claim that he had good intentions. When asked about the documentary he tweeted about, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, he admitted that some of its claims were false but did not apologize for sharing the link.
According to the book the documentary is based on, “many high-ranking Jews have reported worshiping Satan and Lucifer.” This film is directed by a Holocaust denier who uses a made-up quote attributed to Adolf Hitler to advance an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
On Twitter, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to a video of Irving’s response by writing, “The answer to the question Do you have any antisemitic beliefs? is always “NO” without equivocation.”
We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he would take responsibility, but he has not delivered on that promise today, Greenblatt said. There is a lot of room for improvement in Kyrie’s game.
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Irving and the Nets each announced $500,000 donations to anti-hate groups the day before in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League. On Thursday night, Greenblatt tweeted that he could not accept Irving’s donation with a clear conscience.
Kyrie Irving Was Suspended By Brooklyn Nets
According to ESPN, the Brooklyn Nets suspended star guard Kyrie Irving on Thursday after he tweeted a link to a film containing antisemitic material last week.
According to The Athletic, the suspension will cost him at least $55,000 over the course of at least five games.
The Nets released a statement saying they were “dismayed” by Irving’s refusal to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs,” which led to his suspension.
On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he wanted Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving to apologize for tweeting a link to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” However, Irving has once again declined to issue an apology.
Despite his claims that the film contains inaccuracies, Irving did not say that the poster should not have shared the film’s trailer.
After Thursday’s Nets practice, Irving said, “I’m not the one who made the documentary.”
After being confronted by reporters, Irving insisted he had meant no harm by his tweet (which he has since deleted) and demanded to know why they weren’t interested in the history of African Americans in the United States, where he claims 300 million of his ancestors are interred.
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When asked why he wouldn’t back down, Irving said, “Where were you guys asking those same questions when I was a kid learning about the traumatic events of my familial history and what I’m proud to come from and proud to stand here?” Irving went on to clarify that his refusal to back down has nothing to do with ignoring any other group of people.
“I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve gone through and the fact that this has pinned me against the Jewish community, and I’m here answering questions of whether or not I’m sorry or not about something I didn’t create and was something I shared, and I’m telling everybody I’m taking responsibility, then that’s where I sit,” she said.
Antisemitism, racism, false narratives, and misguided attempts to incite animosity and hatred have no place in society, Zussman emphasized. “The need to ensure education in these areas is greater than ever. The saying “actions speak louder than words” is certainly true in this case, so we are putting our previous statements into practice.
The Nets have five games coming up: a road trip against the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, and Dallas Mavericks; a home game against the New York Knicks; and a road game against the Los Angeles Clippers; all of which Irving will miss due to suspension. While the Nets are in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on November 13, he will be able to return to action then at the earliest.
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