Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving Later Thursday, he apologized for tweeting a link to a documentary that had been criticized as anti-Semitic, saying he took full responsibility for his decision to share the content with his nearly five million followers.
The NBA star posted his apology Verified Instagram account Hours after the Nets announced a five-game suspension for defending his decision.
“To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “Instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were affected by the hateful comments published in the documentary, I was initially emotional about being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic.
“I have no intention of insulting any Jewish cultural history related to the Holocaust or perpetuating hatred. I hope that we learn from this unfortunate event and find understanding between all of us,” Irving continued.
Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA last week reprimanded Irving for tweeting a link to the 2018 movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. Blasted as anti-Semitism by civil rights groups.
Before Irving shared his apology, his team released a post Report on Twitter “They said they tried repeatedly to help Irving understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with his promotion of a film with deeply disturbing anti-Semitism.”
The Nets said they were “shocked” during a media session Thursday when Irving refused to unequivocally say he does not have anti-Semitic beliefs or acknowledge specific hateful content in the film.
“This is not the first time he has – but failed to clarify -,” the group said.
During a press conference earlier Thursday, Irving was asked if he was apologizing after tweeting a link to the movie, saying he meant no offense.
“I meant no harm,” Irving replied. “I’m not the one who made the documentary.”
“For posting something on my Instagram or Twitter that contained some unfortunate falsehood, I take full responsibility, I repeat,” he said.
“I take responsibility for posting it,” Irving continued. “Some of it is suspiciously untrue.
“When I was sitting on that stage you all listened to me like it was the first time. I don’t believe everything everyone posts. This is a documentary. So, I accept my responsibility.
Asked if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving replied: “I respect people from all walks of life. I embrace all sides. That’s where I sit.”
When pressed to answer yes or no to the question, he replied: “I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”
Responding to that response on Twitter, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League — “a nonprofit organization that fights against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate that undermine justice and fair treatment for every person” — said Irving “has a lot of work to do.” .”
“The answer to the question of whether you have any antisemitic beliefs is always an unequivocal ‘no’. We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility, but today he didn’t follow through on that promise,” Jonathan Greenblatt wrote Thursday. “Kyrie has a lot of work to do.”
In their statement Thursday, the Nets said, “While a clear opportunity is presented, the denial of anti-Semitism is deeply troubling, goes against the values of our organization and constitutes conduct that is harmful to the team. Accordingly, we deem him ineligible to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets at this time. We have decided to grant Kyrie a suspension without pay until he satisfies objective restorative measures that address the adverse impact of his conduct.
That media appearance followed Wednesday’s announcement by Irving and the Nets that both would donate $500,000 to anti-hate organizations.
In an earlier joint statement between Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, the 30-year-old said he was “responsible” for the “negative impact” his post had on the Jewish community.
But Thursday night, after the suspension announcement, Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that the ADL “cannot in good conscience accept” Irving’s donation.
“(Irving) has been given plenty of opportunities to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antisemitism. He failed at almost every step along the way. This suspension is well deserved,” Greenblatt said. “We were hopeful, but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Khairy doesn’t feel any responsibility for his actions.”
Earlier this week, NBA analyst and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said he thought the league “dropped the ball” on Irving and believed the player should have been suspended.
On Tuesday, when asked why Irving wasn’t disciplined for his actions, Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters: “I think we’re having these discussions behind the scenes.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said “Irving was disappointed that the Guardian did not apologize or condemn the “harmful content in the movie it chose to promote.” Friday will meet with Irving next week, the commissioner said in a statement Thursday.
“Gary Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to an image containing deeply offensive antisemitic material,” Silver said.
“We appreciate that he has agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, but he has not offered an unqualified apology, and has not specifically condemned the vulgar and harmful content contained in the movie he chose to promote.”
Irving was not available to the media on the Monday or Tuesday following Nets games on those days.
The joint statement said the donations were made to “eliminate hatred and intolerance in our communities”.
Greenblatt, with the Anti-Defamation League, said: “At a time when anti-Semitism has reached historic levels, we know the best way to combat age-old hate is to confront it head-on and change hearts and minds.”
Kanye WestA regular critic of anti-Semitic comments on social media and in interviews, tweeted a picture of the cop on Thursday to show his support for Irving.
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”