The Nets suspended Kyrie Irving without pay for at least five games Thursday after his repeated refusals to apologize for his recent promotion of an anti-Semitic documentary and book on social media.
The star guard has come under fire since Oct. 29, when he posted a since-deleted tweet endorsing a new movie based on a 2015 book titled Jews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. Thursday’s discipline came less than 24 hours after a joint statement by Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League announcing that both the 11-year veteran and the team would donate $500,000 each to help “promote education ” and in combating hate speech by donating to causes and organizations working to combat hate speech.
Following the news of Irving’s suspension, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement to SNY’s Ian Begley stating that the organization chose not to accept Irving’s donation after he again refused to apologize for his actions during a media session Thursday afternoon. Greenblatt later confirmed this on Twitter, saying: “The ADL cannot in good conscience accept (the donation).
During the session, Irving, who has also doubled down on the tweet both on Twitter and in a heated postgame interview last Saturday, said he “didn’t mean to cause any harm” but again refused to apologize .
“We were hopeful, but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no responsibility for his actions,” Greenblatt tweeted in part.
In a statement announcing the discipline, the Nets deemed Irving “currently unfit to be associated” with the team and also cited his comments from Thursday’s news conference as one of the catalysts for the decision.
The team did not specify the length of the suspension, but noted that it will last until Irving “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful effects of his conduct.”
Earlier in the day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement condemning Irving’s actions and announced he would meet with the former All-Star next week.
“Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a movie that contains deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said in a statement. “While we appreciate that he has agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not apologized unreservedly and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will meet with Kyrie in person next week to discuss the situation.”
The earliest Irving could return is Nov. 13, when the Nets face the Lakers.
More NBA coverage: