The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay for failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
Irving shared a tweet Thursday — which appears to have been deleted — including a clip from a movie titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a film based on the book by Ronald Dalton that Rolling Stone said shares “anti-Semitic tropes.”
Nets officials issued a statement on Irving, saying the franchise’s view of the team’s guard is that he is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
“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 actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hate,” the team’s statement reads. “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.”
Nets officials said they were “dismayed” after Irving refused to denounce antisemitic beliefs or acknowledge specific “hateful” material in the film.
“This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify,” the Nets said in a statement.
Irving told reporters he takes responsibility for posting some content referring to the Jewish community that he referred to as “questionable,” “untrue,” and “unfortunate.”
“I don’t believe everything that everybody posts in a documentary,” Irving said. “So I take my responsibility.”
“I didn’t mean to cause any harm,” he added. “I’m not the one that made the documentary.”
Reporters continually pressed Irving to issue an apology. Irving again refused while slamming the media for not asking the same questions when he was a kid “dealing with, learning about the traumatic events of my familial history.”
“Where were you when I was a kid figuring out that 300 million of my ancestors are buried in America?” he said.
Yet the Nets called Irving’s refusal to disavow antisemitism “deeply disturbing” and against the organization’s values.
“Accordingly, we have decided that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” the statement reads. “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.”
Nets statement on Kyrie Irving: “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…” pic.twitter.com/Mp682Sck23
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 3, 2022
The New York Post reports Irving spoke to reporters after releasing a joint statement with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, where Irving took responsibility for the retweet and pledged $500,000 to fight hate.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that Irving “clearly has a lot of work to do” following the press conference.
“We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility but today he did not make good on that promise,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted.
Irving’s suspension marks the second time for the NBA star after he refused to comply with the league’s COVID vaccination policy last season, which cost him $100 million and a four-year contract extension.