On October 27, controversial NBA star Kyrie Irving tweeted a link to a film full of antisemitic conspiracies, prompting calls from the NBA and the Jewish community for him to repent or face penalties.
Irving did not issue an apology until the Nets suspended him on Thursday night, despite donating $500,000 the night before to an anti-hate group. The veteran guard for the Brooklyn Nets had already stood firm earlier in the day on his belief that his reputation has been unfairly damaged by the media and other people.
Irving replied, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” adding, “I’m just here to continue to uncover things that our world continues to put in darkness.”
The team stated that Irving was “now unfit to be involved with the Brooklyn Nets” and suspended him for at least five games.
Sometime after 11:59 p.m., Irving offered his first apology for his comments.
“I am sincerely sorry to have caused you sorrow, and I apologize,” he said on Instagram to the Jewish families and groups that had been damaged by his post. Instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were harmed by the harsh statements expressed in the documentary, “I originally responded out of emotion to being wrongly labeled antisemitic.”
The seven-time all-controversial star’s reputation stems from the fact that he presents himself as an independent thinker who relies on his own knowledge. Because he refused to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, he missed most of last year’s season.
During a two-week absence earlier in the season, he was widely reported to have disregarded the league’s pandemic regulations. During an interview in 2018, he stated his opinion that the Earth is flat. (He expressed regret, but did not totally deny the opinion.)
Read out the complete controversy here:
27th October: Irving Posts Amazon Link to A Conspiracy-Filled Antisemitic Film on Twitter
Kyrie Irving shared a 2018 movie link “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” on Twitter with his 4.2 Million Followers which he later removed.
There’s a misquoted comment from “Adolph” Hitler there about how Jews will blackmail the United States into keeping this a secret.
October 29 at about 11 p.m: Joe Tsai, Nets Owner, Condemns a Tweet
Joe Tsai, the owner of the Nets, tweeted, “I’m saddened that Kyrie appears to promote a film based on a book full of antisemitic falsehoods. Irving is now receiving $37 million in the final year of his deal.
As a man of faith, I want to sit him down and explain that this is damaging to all of us and that it is unacceptable to advocate hatred based on race, nationality, or religion.
“This is bigger than basketball,” he continued.
On October 29, Irving defended his Twitter message by
claiming to be an “omnist.”
The following morning, as criticism of his message grew, Irving tweeted once more, claiming to be an “omnist,” which is a person who respects or believes in all religions.
The epithet “AntiSemitic” that is being applied to me is unjustified and does not accurately describe the truth or reality I experience on a daily basis, he added.
NBA Issued a Statement, Seemingly in Response to Irving
The NBA condemned antisemitism in a statement that did not specifically mention Irving.
The statement added, “Hate speech of any type is abhorrent and runs counter to the
NBA’s principles of equality, inclusion, and respect.”
We will keep working with the entire NBA community to make sure everyone knows how their words and deeds affect others: “We think we all have a role to play in ensuring
such words or ideas, particularly antisemitic ones, are challenged and opposed.”
Nets Telecast, Richard Jefferson Criticized Kyrie Irving
As the controversy grew, retired NBA players began speaking out against Irving.
The first person to remark on Nets games for YES was Irving’s former teammate and current analyst Richard Jefferson.
His comments came during a broadcast of a game between the Nets and the 76ers on October 29. He added, “It is sad, Kyrie insists that he’s not antisemitic and these things, but the tweet is still up. There’s no sign of the tweet being taken down.
You must realize that your social media use has consequences and impacts others, Jefferson said.
“If you’re not bothered by that, then you must approve of it,” he said.
Irving Said, “He wasn’t promoting the movie.”
Irving claims he wasn’t trying to promote the film in a now-viral interaction with an ESPN reporter. Following the loss to the Pacers, ESPN reporter Nick Friedell confronted Irving about his advocacy for Alex Jones’ messaging and the film.
According to Irving, what Jones revealed regarding American secret societies is factual. But he lied and said Friedell was trying to get clicks by making him look bad.
At the end of his thought process, he said, “I can post whatever I want.”
Kanye West Supporting Kyrie
Antisemitic artist Kanye West, who was fired from his job last month for threatening violence against Jews, has come out in support of Irving’s conduct, calling him one of the “genuine ones” in an Instagram post on Sunday.
November 1:NBA greats Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Reggie Miller criticized the league and the NBA on TNT for not punishing Kyrie Irving
The TNT panelists, before the weekly nationally televised NBA doubleheader, took turns blasting Irving for the tweet and the league for its lack of response.
It’s too late, Barkley added, because the league “missed the ball” by not suspending him.
In an exchange on Twitter, O’Neal, one of the first famous people to use the service, criticized Irving for failing to take ownership of his comments.
Miller reportedly addressed Irving’s NBA colleagues during the game, stating, “It’s been crickets.”
“It’s frustrating because the players have been the backbone of this league,” Miller added.
“There is no grey area between right and wrong. You can’t only criticize the owners without also criticizing the players.
In regards to Kyrie Irving, you must not remain silent. If we’re going to hear strong sentiments on [NBA owners] Robert Sarver and Donald Sterling, I also want to hear them from the players.
Irving, the Nets, and the ADL issued a joint statement on
November 2 announcing a donation to support ADL’s educational activities.
Irving and the Nets issued a joint statement saying they would each donate $500,000 “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities” and would collaborate with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to create
educational programming to combat anti-Semitism and bigotry.
Irving said he opposed all forms of intolerance and injustice in the same statement, but he did not issue an apology, criticize the film, or even use the phrase “antisemitic.”
For whatever harm that my post may have caused to the Jewish community, I accept full responsibility,” Irving said. I don’t think the documentary was entirely accurate or reflective of my values and beliefs.
November 3rd, Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, expressed his displeasure with Irving for not offering an apology
Adam Silver, the Jewish commissioner of the NBA, voiced his opinion on the matter for the first time on Thursday morning.
In a statement, Silver called Irving’s actions “reckless,” saying, “Kyrie Irving took a reckless decision to post a link to a DVD containing extremely inflammatory antisemitic material.”
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 promote, despite the fact that we appreciate his willingness to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.
In the coming week, I plan to have a face-to-face meeting with Kyrie to talk about it.
Irving uses a press conference on November 3 to play the
victim and refuses to apologize.
t a press conference held after the Nets’ shootaround on Thursday, Irving reiterated his acceptance of responsibility for posting something “that may have had some falsehoods in it,” but he insisted that “just because I posted a documentary doesn’t make me antisemitic.” He also stated that he had not met with the ADL.
The claims made in the film concerning the Holocaust, which he never made, he labeled “unfortunate.”
When Silver asked for an explanation, he stated, “I didn’t mean to cause any harm. False, I did not create the documentary.
Were of the criticism of the Jewish faith and the community, for sure, some comments made in there that were unpleasant,” he stated when asked what parts of the film he found to be inaccurate.
But then he claimed victimhood, saying he was being degraded for being Black and for his religious beliefs, and he criticized “the fact that this has placed me against the Jewish community and I’m here answering questions about whether I’m sorry or not over something I didn’t create.”
I’m not here to judge the hardships endured by one family over another’s many years of existence.
All I want to do is keep shining a light on the problems that society prefers to keep hidden. To shine, I am. To those in the dark, I am a shining example.
After being pressed again to clarify whether or not he had antisemitic views, Irving said obliquely: “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I came from.”
CEO Greenblatt of the ADL responded to Irving’s most recent comments by saying the team trusted Irving’s word from the day before but that he “obviously has a lot of work to do.”
Nets Suspended Irving
Thursday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the suspension would last at least five games.
The Nets organization released a statement saying, “Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him realize the harm and danger of his words and actions, beginning with his publicity of a film containing extremely distressing antisemitic hate.”
We agreed that a focus on education was the best way forward in this difficult circumstance, and we felt like we’d come a long way in our efforts to rid the world of bigotry and prejudice.
“We were disappointed today that, when presented with the opportunity in a media conference, Kyrie failed to categorically state that he has no antisemitic sentiments and to address particular vile material in the film.
This wasn’t the first time he should have clarified but didn’t.
Not condemning antisemitism when given a direct opportunity to do so is very troubling, goes against the organization’s principles, and is harmful to the team.
Therefore, we believe he is unsuited to have any further association with the Brooklyn Nets at this time.
For “no less than five games,” the Nets noted, “Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a set of objective remedial steps that address the negative consequences of his conduct.”
November 3:ADL Announced That It Will Not Be Accepting a Donation from Irving
Greenblatt admitted that the team was initially hopeful but that it is now evident that Kyrie takes no responsibility for his conduct following the press conference.
With a clear conscience, ADL cannot approve this. Greenblatt praised the Nets’ decision to bench Irving.
Nov. 3: Irving apologizes
“While researching YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some erroneous antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and disrespectful to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I assume full accountability and responsibility for my acts,” Irving stated.
“I appreciate the opportunity to reach a wide audience with my ideas, and I hope to continue developing as a result of an honest discussion with others.
I want to express my deepest apologies to all Jewish families and communities who have been damaged by my post.
Instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were harmed by the cruel statements stated in the documentary, my first reaction was emotional.
I’d like to apologize for posting the documentary without providing any background or a factual explanation of which points in the film I agreed with and which I disagreed with in order to avoid any misunderstandings about my position in the battle against antisemitism.
I never set out to minimize or dismiss the Holocaust’s significance to Jewish culture. I am growing as a result of this tragedy, and I pray for peace and unity among us.
Irving is the Chief Editor at the Landscape Insight. He lives just outside of New York. His writings have also been featured in some very famous magazines. When he isn’t reading the source material for a piece or decompressing with a comfort horror movie, Irving is usually somewhere in his car.