Kyrie Irving Banned By Nets For 5 Games For ‘Failure To Disvow Antisemitism’

  • Nets suspend Kyrie Irving for at least 5 games for ‘failure to renounce anti-Semitism’.
  • Irving shared a link to a movie that contained anti-Semitic tropes over the weekend
  • Although Irving said he meant no harm to anyone and took responsibility for sharing the film, he refrained from apologizing or denouncing anti-Semitism.

The Brooklyn Nets announced Thursday that star point guard Kyrie Irving will be suspended for “no less than five games” for his “failure to renounce anti-Semitism.”

Irving over the weekend shared a link on his Twitter and Instagram accounts to a film titled “Jews on Negroes: Awakening Black America.” Irving did not post any caption with the link.

The film, which can be viewed on Amazon, contains anti-Semitic tropes and contains quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler.

On Saturday, after linking to the film on social media, Irving had a tense exchange with ESPN’s Nick Friedell where he took issue with the idea that he promoted the film. Irving has repeatedly defended the release of the film, saying he would not “back down” on his beliefs, though he said it did not target any race or religion.

On Wednesday, the Nets released a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League, announcing that the team and Irving will donate $500,000 to “causes and organizations working to eliminate hate and intolerance in our communities.”

In the statement, Irving acknowledged the “harm” he had caused the Jewish community, but stopped short of apologizing.

“I stand against all forms of hate and oppression and stand strong against communities that are marginalized and affected every day,” Irving said in the statement. “I know the negative impact of my post on the Jewish community and take responsibility. I do not believe that everything said in the documentary was true or reflected my morals and principles. I am a person who learns from all walks of life and I intend to do so with open minded and willing to listen. So, from my family and I, we mean no harm to any group, race or religion of people and wish to be only a beacon of truth and light.”

The Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that Irving did not personally meet with the Anti-Defamation League and instead sent his dad and stepmom/agent.

On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his disappointment in Irving’s lack of apology in a statement of his own.

“I am disappointed by this [Irving] he has not apologized unreservedly and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content of the film he chose to make public,” Silver’s statement said. “I will meet with Kairi in person next week to discuss this situation.”

After not speaking to the media earlier in the week, Irving addressed reporters Thursday and once again avoided an apology in another tense meeting.

Irving said he took responsibility for sharing the film, but said he did not create it.

“When I say I’m not going to quit, it’s not about putting down any other race or group of people, I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through,” Irving said. “The fact that this has pitted me against the Jewish community and I’m here to answer questions about whether I’m sorry or not, for something I didn’t create, that was something I shared and I tell everyone I take responsibility, then that’s when I’m sitting”.

Asked if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving said: “I don’t know how the label is justified… I respect all walks of life and I embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit… I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”

The Nets said in a statement that Irving is “unable” to play for the team.

“We were disappointed today, when given the opportunity in a media interview, that Kairi refused to say categorically that he does not hold anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the statement said. “It wasn’t the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.

“This failure to repudiate anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply troubling, goes against the values ​​of our organization and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. We therefore believe that he is not currently fit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”

The Nets’ statement suggests Irving’s suspension could be longer if he doesn’t apologize for sharing the tape.

“We have determined that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful effects of his conduct and the period of suspension served is no less than five games.”

Speaking on “SportsCenter,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski told “SportsCenter said Irving’s future in Brooklyn is in doubt.

“He’s going to have to remedy this situation. I think right now his future in Brooklyn, it’s fair to say, is unclear.”

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