Kevin Durant and Sean Marks are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s suspension
Kevin Durant and Sean Marks address the media a day after news broke that Kyrie Irving will be suspended because of his unwillingness to “unequivocally say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs.”
SportsPulse, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – An apology was just the first step for Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving.
After the team suspended Irving for at least five games, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Friday morning that Irving must meet with anti-hate groups and Jewish leaders before returning to the team.
“After something like this, you would always hope there would be a change – a change in feelings, a change in attitude, and based on his apology last night, that’s a step in the right direction,” Marks said. “But again, as we’ve said, actions speak louder than words. He had a little time and will have more time to think about it.”
Marks said he has not spoken to Irving since the seven-time All-Star apologized late Thursday, hours after the team suspended him for refusing to “refuse to say categorically that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to identify specific hate material in the film.” entitled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America,” a so-called documentary that is filled with anti-Semitism and fabrications.
SUSPENDS: The Nets are suspending Irving for at least five games without pay
APOLOGY: Irving apologizes to Jewish community: ‘I am deeply sorry’
“If he wants to participate, we’ll see where he goes,” Marks said.
Marks said the team has not considered releasing Irving.
“The organization has made many attempts to come with Kyrie and representation and have them come clean about his feelings and express some sense or remorse about it and obviously that hasn’t happened,” Marks said. “He refused to disavow that until his (Thursday) night tweet. That was the best course of action right now – to suspend him. They are not the values of our organization.”
Irving initially refused to back down from his social media post despite a statement from Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA. On Wednesday, the Nets and Irving announced a $1 million donation – $500,000 each – to organizations that strive to “eliminate hate and intolerance.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded early Thursday that he was disappointed that Irving “did not unreservedly apologize and more specifically denounce the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to release.”
Irving had a chance to do that with reporters Thursday afternoon, but he didn’t. The team suspended him. The Anti-Defamation League said it would refuse Irving’s $500,000 donation, and Irving subsequently published his apology.
“To all the Jewish families and communities that were hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain and I apologize,” Irving wrote in an Instagram post Thursday night.
Irving added: “I had no intention of disrespecting any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuating any hatred. I learn from this unfortunate event and hope that we can find understanding among all of us. I am no different from any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge and I know who I am.”