Updated Nov 4, 2022 - Sports

Nets suspend Kyrie Irving over antisemitic film post

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on from the bench during the second quarter of the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on November 01.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets looks on from the bench during the game against the Chicago Bulls at in New York City on Nov. 1. Photo: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets announced Thursday they have suspended Kyrie Irving without pay for at least five games over his response to his posting a link to a film that contained antisemitic material.

The latest: Irving issued an apology in an Instagram post late Thursday acknowledging that the film contained false, antisemitic language.

  • "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," he said.

The big picture: Irving faced backlash after last week posting a link, which has since been taken down, to a 2018 movie based on a book full of antisemitic tropes.

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver noted hours before Irving was suspended that the player had not apologized for the post.
  • Irving told reporters earlier Thursday before that he "didn't mean to cause any harm," he's "not the one that made the documentary" and he respects "all walks of life."
  • When pressed on whether he's antisemitic he said: "I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."

Driving the news: The Nets said in an emailed statement they had for several days "made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions" of publicizing the film "containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate."

  • "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.
  • "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."

The bottom line: "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," the Nets said. "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."

Worth noting: In response to the backlash, Irving and the Brooklyn Nets said Wednesday they would each donate $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League to promote better educational opportunities and raise awareness about societal challenges.

  • Irving said in that statement, "I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day."

Yes, but: Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the organization "cannot in good conscience accept his donation."

  • "We were optimistic but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions," Greenblatt tweeted Thursday afternoon.
  • Irving has been given "ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antisemitism. He has failed at almost every step along the way," he added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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