LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers star, says Kyrie Irving was a former teammate.
Irving was suspended Friday for his comments about a tweet linking to an antisemitic document. He missed the Brooklyn Nets’ first game.
James spoke to reporters after Friday’s loss to the Utah Jazz at a post-game conference. He stated that he believed Kyrie had caused some damage to many people. Since then, he has apologized. He did cause some damage.
“It doesn’t matter what skin color you have, what height you are, or what position you hold – if you promote or solicit, or say harmful things to any community that hurt people, then I don’t respect it.” It is not something I condone.
After Irving initially doubled down on sharing the content on Twitter, the Nets suspended Irving on Thursday. Hours later, the star point guard apologized on his verified Instagram account. He stated that he was fully responsible for his actions.
Irving wrote, “To all Jewish families and communities that were hurt and affected by my post, I deeply apologize to have caused your pain, and I regret it.” I initially reacted emotionally to being unfairly called Anti-Semitic. Instead of focusing on healing my Jewish Brothers and Sisters who were hurt by the hateful comments made in the Documentary, I chose to focus on the healing process.
“I did not intend to offend any Jewish cultural history about the Holocaust or propagate hatred. Irving said, “I am learning from this tragic event and hope that we can all find understanding.”
Nike ended its relationship with Irving on Friday amid continued criticism.
Nike stated in a statement to CNN that it believes there is no place at Nike for hate speech. “To that effect, we have decided to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately. We will not launch the Kyrie 8,” Nike stated. We are deeply disappointed and saddened by this situation and its effect on everyone.
After Irving defends his decision to link to “Hebrews to Negroes” (2018) last week, the company made this move. Civil rights groups have criticized the movie, which is based on Ronald Dalton’s book of that name, for its antisemitism.
Reporters asked Irving about his antisemitic views and if he was sorry. Irving replied that he respected “all walks” of life and didn’t intend to cause any harm.
Later, the Nets stated that they were “disappointed” when the player refused to “unambiguously state he has not antisemitic beliefs or acknowledge specific hateful material in the film” during a media session.
“Such failure of disavowing antisemitism when presented with a clear opportunity is deeply disturbing and is against the values of our organization and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team,” the Nets stated before Irving.
They also stated that they tried to help Irving understand the dangers and harms of his words and actions.
Irving was suspended without pay and he was unable to play against the Washington Wizards on Friday. The Nets stated that Irving will be suspended for at least four more games and that Irving must also comply with “a series of objective remedial steps to address the harmful effect of his conduct.”
Sean Marks, the Nets general manager, responded to a question Friday asking if Irving was being released. At this time, no.
Marks spoke to reporters before the Nets-Wizards match and stated that there are going to be remedial measures and steps to help him.
Marks said, “He’s going have to sit with them, he’s going to need to sit with the organization afterward, and then we’ll evaluate and determine if this is the right time to bring him back.”
Kevin Durant, Irving’s Nets teammate, described this week’s events as “unnecessary” but expressed his belief that the team could “keep quiet” about Irving’s comments.
“I’m not here to judge anybody or talk down upon anyone… I simply didn’t like what was happening.” Durant spoke out about Irving’s suspension by the team during Friday’s pre-game availability. “I feel like we could just keep playing basketball and not be so loud as an organization. It’s all too much for me.”
Durant answered the question “I believe and trust that the organization will do what is right” when Durant was asked if he felt the suspension was unfair.
Durant tweeted shortly after his media availability: “Just wanna clarify my statements at shootaround. Some people are confused… I don’t condone hate speech or antisemitism. I’m all about spreading love always.”
He said, “Our game unites people, and I want to make sure that’s at the forefront.”
After a swift backlash, an apology follows
The controversy escalated after Irving made remarks to reporters during Thursday’s media session.
He said that he didn’t mean any harm when he was asked if he was sorry. I am not the one who made the documentary.
Irving responded that he was not surprised at the response.
Irving answered, “I respect all walks” when asked if he held any antisemitic beliefs. All walks of life are welcome to me. This is where I am.
When asked if Irving held antisemitic beliefs, he said that he could not answer the question “Yes or No” to one about Irving’s origins.
Jonathan Greenblatt, Anti-Defamation League CEO, was shocked to learn that Irving had answered the question. He pointed out that Irving still has a lot of work ahead of him.
“The answer to the question “Do you have any antisemitic views?” is always ‘NO’, without equivocation. “We took @KyrieIrving’s word that he would take responsibility. But today, he didn’t keep his promise,” Greenblatt wrote.
The ADL refused to accept the $500,000 donation Irving and the Nets previously announced after Irving was suspended. Irving later apologized to the ADL for declining the donation.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also criticized Irving’s comments, saying he was disappointed.
Silver apologized for the reckless decision of Kyrie Irving to post a link to a film that contained deeply offensive antisemitic material.
This controversy arises as antisemitism is on the rise in America over the last few years. According to the ADL, at least 2,717 incidents of antisemitism were reported in the US in 2021. This is an increase from the 942 incidents in 2015.
Irving has been involved in controversy over the years, which has impacted his playing time. Irving didn’t play in many Brooklyn home games last season because he wasn’t vaccinated against Covid-19. This was due to New York City’s workplace vaccine mandate. He was able to return to Barclays Center in March after the rule was lifted.