The Brooklyn Nets placed star guard Kyrie Irving without pay, the team announced Thursday, following a controversial tweet last week in which Irvinga documentary film containing anti-Semitic ideas and several press conferences in which Irving refused to condemn anti-Semitism. The Nets said the suspension will last “no less than” five games.
In a statement, the organization said it made the decision after “repeated efforts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with the release of a film that contained deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hatred’.
The team added that it was “disappointed” by a media meeting on Thursday in which the 30-year-old Irving was asked directly by reporters if he held anti-Semitic beliefs.
“Kyrie declined to categorically say that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the Nets said. “It wasn’t the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.”
“Consequently, we believe he is not currently fit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” the team wrote. “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.”
The movementhe said in his statement that he was “disappointed” that Irving did not “unreservedly apologize and more specifically denounce the vile and harmful content of the film that he chose to publicize,” adding that he planned to meet with Irving next week. to “discuss this situation”.
The teamin a joint statement with Irving and the Anti-Defamation League that Irving and the Nets will each donate $500,000 to anti-hate groups.
In that statement, Irving wrote: “I stand against all forms of hate and oppression and stand strong against communities that are marginalized and affected every day.”
He also said that he “knows the negative impact my post has had on the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe that everything said in the documentary was true or reflected my morals and principles.”
The controversy began when Irving on Oct. 27 posted a link on Twitter to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” The Amazon synopsis states that the 2018 film “reveals the true identity of the Children of Israel.”
The film is filled with conspiracy theories about Jews, including false claims that Jews dominated the slave trade.
The next day, Nets owner Joe Chai tweeted that he was “disappointed” that Irving appeared to support a movie “based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation.”
“I want to sit down and make sure he understands that this is harmful to all of us and as a person of faith, it is wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion,” Tsai wrote.
The tweet drew criticism from across the NBA community. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley told TNT on Tuesday, before the suspension was announced, that he felt the NBA “dropped the ball” by allowing Irving to continue playing.
“I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner] he should have suspended him,” Barkley said.