Basketball star defends himself following post about anti-Semitic film
NBA basketball player Kyrie Irving has defended his right to post what he believes in after the owner of his team, the Brooklyn Nets, expressed disappointment over his apparent support for an anti-Semitic film.
Irving tweeted a link to the film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ on Thursday. On Amazon, the synopsis says the film “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel.”
After Nets owner Joe Tsai said he was disappointed with Irving for appearing to support a film “based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” the player spoke about the matter in a tense post-game press conference after his team had been beaten 125-116 by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
“We’re in 2022. History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion,” Irving said.
“I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
The NBA star said he understood Tsai’s position but pointed out that he had done nothing wrong through a series of rhetorical questions.
“Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody? Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?” he asked.
However, Irving had done enough for both the Nets and the NBA to speak out against hate speech.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the franchise said in a statement, while the NBA stressed that “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable.”
“We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue working with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact of their words and actions,” the league added.
While it is not clear if the NBA has spoken to Irving or plans to, Nets coach Steve Nash confirmed that the Nets had.
Irving has previously been in hot water for supporting the idea that the Earth is flat, as well as his anti-vaccine stance, which meant he missed most of last season due to a mandate in New York City.
Last month, he shared an old clip from Alex Jones and later had to clarify that he didn’t support the conspiracy theorist in his stance on the Sandy Hook shootings.