Kyrie Irving was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for at least five games on Thursday evening after refusing to apologize or accept accountability for posting a link to a film containing antisemitic ideas. The suspension came hours after Irving held another bizarre, combative media session with reporters where he declined to answer direct questions about his personal beliefs or acknowledge the danger of the contents of the film.
The suspension is the culmination of week-long controversy for Irving that started when he tweeted a link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a film on Amazon that contains deeply antisemitic tropes. Irving played against the Chicago Bulls a day before the suspension. The Nets said he would be suspended “no less than five games” without pay until he “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Irving situation, with updates at the top when additional details are reported.
Kyrie Irving apologizes on Instagram
Irving finally accepted accountability and apologized for sharing the film in a post on Instagram on late Thursday night. Here’s Irving’s full statement:
Kyrie Irving issues an apology amid antisemitism controversy that led to his suspension by Nets: “To all Jewish families and communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.” pic.twitter.com/QUXt1WtK2g
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 4, 2022
Nets suspended Kyrie Irving at least 5 games after promoting antisemitic film
The Nets released the following statement announcing Irving’s suspension.
Nets statement on Kyrie Irving: “We are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures…” pic.twitter.com/Mp682Sck23
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 3, 2022
“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge hateful material in the film,” the team said in the statement. They noted he has multiple opportunities to take accountability for sharing the dangerous ideas in the film, but he refused thus far.
The key points here are:
- Irving’s suspension will be “no less than five games” and could go longer.
- The suspension will end when the Nets believe Irving “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.”
- The team believes Irving is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
Anti-Defamation League refused to accept $500K from Irving
On Wednesday, the Nets and Irving announced they would each donate $500K to the Anti-Defamation League to combat all forms of antisemitism and bigotry. On Thursday, the ADL announced they would no longer accept Irving’s money after he refused to apologize at another press conference.
The ADL is no longer accepting the $500,000 from Kyrie Irving, per the organization’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
“After watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions. ADL cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) November 4, 2022
Irving did not meet with the ADL in-person, and his father and stepmother meet with the organization instead.
Kyrie Irving fails to apologize in media session that leads to suspension
Irving spoke to reporters on Thursday afternoon at Nets practice. He again confused antisemitism with being pro-Black and dodged direct questions about the themes of the video he shared. Watch a clip here:
“I’m a beacon of light. I’m not afraid of these mics, these cameras. Any label you put on me I’m able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary.”
Kyrie Irving with a lengthy answer on the public reaction to his sharing of an anti-Semitic film on social media: pic.twitter.com/JgG9hOFQiU
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 3, 2022
He tweets “Anti-Semitic label that is being pushed on me is not justified”
I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs. The “Anti-Semitic” label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.
— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) October 29, 2022
NBA and NBAPA put out statements disavowing hate speech that fail to mention Irving by name
Irving argues with media about tweet at press conference
Following a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Oct. 29, Irving spoke publicly about the topic for the first time. Read a full transcript of Irving’s press conference at Nets Daily, and watch the video below.
We’ll update this story as it develops.