The Brooklyn Nets announced on Thursday that star point guard Kyrie Irving will be suspended for “no less than five games.”
Kyrie Irving : Suspended | disavow antisemitism | film
Irving played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils before joining the Cavaliers in 2011.
He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2014 All-Star Game. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Irving made the championship-winning three-point field goal to complete the Cavaliers’ historic comeback over the Golden State Warriors.
After another Finals appearance in 2017, Irving requested a trade and was dealt to the Boston Celtics.
He played as a Celtic for two seasons, after which he signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent in 2019.
He has also played for the United States national team, with which he won gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Kyrie Irving Suspended
The Brooklyn Nets on Thursday suspended star guard Kyrie Irving for at least five games, saying that despite holding a second press conference to address a controversial documentary he had still refused to disavow anti-Semitism.
Irving has faced heavy criticism since posting a link to the 2018 film on Twitter last week and initially defended doing so during a contentious post-game news conference over the weekend.
The seven-time All Star has since deleted the Twitter post and in a press conference earlier on Thursday said he meant no harm.
Irving took “responsibility” for posting the link but did not specifically denounce the film or its message, which civil rights activists have called anti-Semitic.
“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the Nets said in a statement announcing his suspension.
The team said Irving would be suspended until he undergoes a series of unspecified “remedial measures”, but no less than five games.
Kyrie Irving disavow antisemitism
The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay Thursday, dismayed by his repeated failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
Hours after Irving refused to issue the apology that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sought for posting a link to an antisemitic work on his Twitter feed, the Nets said that Irving is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
“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 specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify,” the Nets said in a statement.
“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
The Nets said they made multiple attempts in recent days to help Irving understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, but it was clear during Irving’s interview after practice earlier Thursday that little had changed.
Irving again refused to apologize, saying only that he meant no harm. He said some things in “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” were untrue, but he didn’t say he shouldn’t have posted a link to it.
“I’m not the one who made the documentary,” Irving said.
He was later asked if he had antisemitic beliefs, and he didn’t say no.
“I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” Irving said.
Kyrie Irving has deleted a tweet linking to a movie criticized for anti-Semitic messaging following days of uproar for the controversial Brooklyn Nets star.
The 30-year-old grabbed attention last week after sharing an Amazon link on Thursday to the 2018 film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.’ The movie is based on a 2015 book by the same name, which Rolling Stone described as ‘venomously anti-Semitic.’
Both the NBA and Nets owner Joe Tsai condemned Irving’s post in public statements, although the league did not mention the All-Star guard by name. Neither the NBA nor the Nets have suggested that Irving will face any punishment for linking his Twitter account to anti-Semitic material.
Irving did deny being anti-Semitic in a tweet on Saturday, but he doubled down on his decision to share the link a day later, telling reporters ‘I’m not going to stand down on anything that I believe in.’
It’s still not clear why Irving finally decided to do so, but he did take the offending tweet down on Sunday.