US basketball player Kyrie Irving issued an apology after the Brooklyn Nets suspended him due to accusations of anti-Semitism.
After defending his choice to share a link to a documentary that had been called anti-Semitic on Twitter, the star was given a five-game suspension.
Irving expressed his “deep regret” for the “harm and grief” he had brought about in a message that was shared on Instagram.
He said, “I am learning from this sad incident.
The seven-time NBA All-Star received harsh criticism last week when he was linked to a 2018 movie that was widely criticized for being egregiously anti-Semitic, including from Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA.
The 30-year-old took “responsibility” for the “bad impact” his remark had on the Jewish community, Irving and the Nets stated on Wednesday in reaction to the uproar, and he has since removed the original tweet.
The club and Irving promised to support causes and organizations “that aim to eradicate hate and intolerance” by cooperating with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a non-profit organization that combats all anti-Semitism and bigotry.
But when questioned about his anti-Semitic views during a news conference on Thursday, Irving declined to outright denounce the movie and its content. He said to the press instead: “I appreciate all walks of life. I love all walks of life. That’s where I sit.”
Irving refused to directly respond when challenged, only stating that he could not be anti-Semitic “if I know where I came from.”
A few hours later, the team released a stern statement in which they banned Irving and expressed their “dismay” at his refusal to “unambiguously claim he has no anti-Semitic ideas, nor recognise particular vile elements in the film.”
The statement said, “Such reluctance to denounce anti-Semitism when given a clear chance to do so is highly unsettling, is against the principles of our organization, and represents conduct harmful to the team.” We believe that he is now unsuited to be linked with the Brooklyn Nets as a result.
They also said he would miss at least five games and be banned unless he took unnamed “remedial actions.”
Irving claimed he had “reacted emotionally to being falsely accused of being anti-Semitic, instead of focused on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters who were affected by the horrible statements uttered in the Documentary,” in a statement released on Thursday night.
He said, “I had no desire to spread any hate or insult any Jewish cultural past involving the Holocaust.
The Anti-Defamation League stated that it could not “in good faith accept” Irving’s gift in light of his reversal and that it was evident that “Kyrie feels no culpability for his acts” as a result of Irving’s actions.
Irving did have some supporters online, including musician Kanye West, who was recently allowed to use Twitter again after being suspended for using anti-Semitic language.
Irving has stirred up controversy before in recent years. He only participated in 29 of the Nets’ 82 regular-season games in 2021–22 because he declined to receive the Covid–19 vaccination.