Saturday, April 1 2023

NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games without pay, they announced on Thursday, a week after Irving first publicized a film full of antisemitic tropes.

Irving promoted a film entitled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” on social media last Thursday, and has since refused to fully disavow its contents or say he’s sorry despite having multiple opportunities to express some form of contrition.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a prepared statement on Thursday that he is “disappointed” in Irving’s decision not to apologize, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that Irving has “a lot of work to do.”

Irving said Thursday that he “cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.” Asked what he meant by that, he repeated, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.” 

Here is the Nets’ statement in full: 

“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.”

This story will be updated. 



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