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Kyrie Irving Offers Apology For Posting Antisemitic Video -- Only AFTER Nets Suspended Him For At Least Five Games Without Pay

Kyrie Irving Offers Apology For Posting Antisemitic Video -- Only AFTER Nets Suspended Him For At Least Five Games Without Pay

NBA star Kyrie Irving has been suspended from playing basketball for his failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”

The Brooklyn Nets suspended their star player indefinitely without pay  — and stated the suspension would last at least the next five games — after he published a social media post days ago about a book and movie that contained disturbing antisemitic tropes. Controversy ensued after Irving then refused to apologize for the post early on Thursday in a media session after the team’s practice. Angered by his lack of culpability for posting the unsettling content, the Nets opted to suspend the star.

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In a statement released later on Thursday evening, the organization said Kyrie is “currently unfit to be associated” with the team. They explained:

“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.”

The Nets also indicated that Irving’s suspension would last  “until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.”

Several hours after the suspension was announced, Irving issued an apology in an Instagram post. He wrote:

“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 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.”

The basketball star continued:

“I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism [sic] 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. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. … [the documentary in question] 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.”

The disturbing documentary at issue here, which Irving posted via social media, is Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. When asked about the film earlier on Thursday, hours before his suspension, the pro athlete would not outright say he was not antisemitic.

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Instead, when questioned by reporters, he initially offered this tepid response:

“I’m not the one who made the documentary. I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from. … falsehoods [in the documentary] are unfortunate. And it’s not that I don’t believe in the Holocaust. I never said that. Never, ever have said it. It’s not come out of my mouth. I never tweeted it. I never liked anything like it. So the Holocaust in itself is an event that means something to a large group of people that suffered something that could have been avoided.”

The f**k??

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had also called for accountability. Speaking yesterday morning about the Nets’ donation to the Anti-Defamation League — and a corresponding $50K one from Irving that the organization rejected amid accusations of his antisemitism — Silver said:

“While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.”

According to ESPN, Silver plans to meet in person with Kyrie “within the next week.” This is not the first time Irving has served a high-profile suspension while with the Nets. Last year, he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As New York City had a vaccine mandate at the time, he was ineligible to play in the team’s home games. The Nets eventually brought him back for road games until the vaccine mandate was lifted in March.

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Of course, this situation is even on another level, especially with the hateful rhetoric that has been spewed recently about Jewish people from other high-profile individuals. Irving’s media interactions prior to Thursday’s suspension were seriously lacking. And the fact that he couldn’t just apologize in the first place right then and there was bull s**t. Then, to only own up to sharing the damaging documentary after he gets suspended?! Come on!!

Not to mention, his Instagram post’s admission of guilty hardly felt genuine or sincere, but instead more like it came out of some PR machine. “I am learning from this unfortunate event…” seems to always be the beginning of any poorly-written apology.

Actions have consequences — you can’t say whatever you want and still get paid. Periodt!

[Image via NBA/YouTube/FayesVision/WENN]

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Nov 04, 2022 07:38am PDT