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4 Nov, 2022 13:06

Controversial NBA star apologizes for anti-Semitism row

Kyrie Irving admitted that the film he promoted on Twitter contains “false anti-Semitic statements”
Controversial NBA star apologizes for anti-Semitism row

NBA star Kyrie Irving has issued an apology for sharing a link to a film which he admitted contains “false anti-Semitic statements” after he was suspended by his team, the Brooklyn Nets, for at least five games.

Irving tweeted a link to ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ last Thursday, which sparked an anti-Semitism row that saw him condemned by his team, its owner, and the NBA.

At first he acted defiantly and defended his right to make the post before deleting it, and then vowed to donate $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League as the controversy intensified.

After the Nets suspended the guard for at least five games for refusing “to unequivocally say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” Irving took to Instagram to finally issue a direct apology to the Jewish community.

Irving said he was sorry to anyone that may have been offended by the film, which he conceded contains “some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.”

“I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary,” he said.

“I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.”

The Nets said that Irving would only be allowed to play for them again after undergoing “remedial measures.”

The franchise said it was “dismayed” that Irving, when previously given the opportunity, “refused to unequivocally say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film.”

As a consequence of his suspension, Irving will not return to action for the Nets until they take on the Lakers in Los Angeles on November 13, providing the ban only runs for five games.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, was critical of Irving on Thursday and said that he had made “a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive anti-Semitic material.” 

The 2022/2023 season is likely to be Irving’s last in Brooklyn, considering his growing list of controversies and the fact that he will become a free agent next summer.

In addition to expressing support for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, he also missed most of the games last season due to his refusal to be vaccinated, which clashed with New York City’s Covid vaccine mandate.

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