The Brooklyn Nets have suspended star guard Kyrie Irving without pay, the franchise said on Thursday, following a contentious tweet in which Irving appeared to praise an antisemitic documentary film and subsequent news conferences in which he refused to condemn antisemitism. The punishment will last “no less than” five games, according to the Nets.
The organization stated in a statement that it made the decision after “many attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him comprehend the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with his releasing a film containing very distressing antisemitic hatred.”
The team noted that it was “disappointed” that Irving, 30, was directly asked by reporters during a media session on Thursday if he had antisemitic views.
“Kyrie refused to state categorically that he does not hold antisemitic views, nor did he recognise particular antisemitic content in the film,” the Nets stated. “This was not the first time he had the chance to clarify, but he failed to do so.”
The team wrote, “Therefore, we believe he is currently unsuited to be involved with the Brooklyn Nets.” “We have determined that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the negative consequences of his conduct, with the minimum suspension time being five games.”
The Brooklyn Nets have issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/699px8XYx
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 4, 2022
The move comes after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was “disappointed” that Irving didn’t offer a “unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to promote,” adding that he planned to meet with Irving next week to “discuss this situation.”
Wednesday, the team announced in a joint statement with Irving and the Anti-Defamation League that both Irving and the Nets would donate $500,000 to anti-hate organizations.
Irving wrote in that statement, “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand firmly with marginalized and daily-affected communities.”
He added that he was “I am conscious of the bad impact my position has had on the Jewish community and I accept responsibility. I do not believe everything presented in the documentary to be truthful or consistent with my morals and values.”
The dispute began when Irving posted a link to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Twitter on October 27. According to the Amazon plot summary, the 2018 film “reveals the true identity of the Children of Israel.”
The video is packed with Jewish conspiracy ideas, such as bogus assertions that Jews ruled the slave trade.
The next day, Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted that he was “disappointed” that Irving appeared to favor a film “based on a book filled with anti-Semitic misinformation.”
Tsai added, “I want to sit down with him and make sure he realizes that this is terrible to all of us and that, as a religious man, it is unacceptable to promote hatred based on race, nationality, or religion.”
The tweet was criticized by the whole NBA community. Charles Barkley, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, stated on TNT on Tuesday, prior to the suspension being issued, that the NBA “dropped the ball” by allowing Kyrie Irving to continue playing.
“I believe he ought to have been suspended. I believe NBA commissioner Adam Silver should have suspended him “Barkley remarked.