Kyrie Irving Suspended by Nets For His 'Insufficient Apology For Anti-Semitism'; Israeli Ambassador Boasts He's Been 'Put In His Place'

Chris Menahan
Nov. 04, 2022

Kyrie Irving was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday for failing to apologize profusely enough for sharing a link to an "anti-Semitic" documentary, even though he pledged to work with the Anti-Defamation League to fight "hate" and pay them a $500,000 "donation" to get off his back just one day ago.

After Irving was pressured again on Thursday by the media to apologize for his alleged "anti-Semitic beliefs," Irving responded by saying he "respects all walks of life" and said, "I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from," suggesting he identifies as an Israelite.

The Brooklyn Nets' owners responded with outrage, immediately suspending Irving for his insubordination and ordering him to undergo re-education to "address the harmful impact of his conduct."

The Nets wrote in a press release:
BROOKLYN – Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.

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.

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. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.
"There is no room for antisemitism, racism, false narratives or misguided attempts to create animosity and hate," Sam Zussman, Chief Executive Officer of BSE Global, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, said one day earlier in a press release touting Irving's previous apology.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also condemned Irving, writing: "Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material. While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will be meeting Kyrie in person next week to discuss the situation."

Irving had agreed on Thursday to "donate" $500,000 toward unnamed "causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance" and pledged to "work with the ADL" to fight anti-Semitism.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt revealed in a statement on Thursday that the "causes and organizations" that Irving's money was going to was just the ADL themselves.

"Good for @BrooklynNets," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Thursday on Twitter. "@KyrieIrving has been given ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antisemitism. He has failed at almost every step along the way. This suspension is well-deserved."

"We were optimistic but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it's clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions," Greenblatt said. "@ADL cannot in good conscience accept his donation."

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan boasted on Thursday night that the African-American basketball star had been "put in his place."

"Kyrie hopped on the trend of being antisemetic & was put in his place quickly," Erdan boasted. "I hope he opens his eyes beyond the conspiracy theories he spreads & can educate himself."

Irving put out a statement on Thursday night profusely apologizing to all the Jews who "are hurt and affected from my post."

"I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize," Irving wrote. "I had no intentions to disrespect and Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate."

Kanye "Ye" West came to Irving's defense, writing: "They make us bully ourselves because of our business alignments."

"They make us attack each other," Ye said. "Even our brothers who know who we truly are."

Conservative commentator Jason Whitlock also weighed in on the controversy, writing: "Kyrie suspended for not obeying the regime. Watch the negroes who all caped for Kap fall silent and reveal who they really answer to. All the fake revolutionaries."

"Remember how free, tolerant, progressive the NBA was when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling during the national anthem? All of this over a tweet of a bad, boring documentary that is HOSTED on Amazon. No smoke for the trillion-dollar global corporation. All the smoke for @KyrieIrving," Whitlock said.

[Right header image of Kyrie Irving by Erik Drost, Cropped, CC BY 2.0. Middle-top header image of Gilad Erdan by Israel Police, Cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0.]

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