The Brooklyn Nets have suspended star guard Kyrie Irving without pay, the team announced Thursday, following a controversial tweet last week in which Irvinga documentary film that contains anti-Semitic ideas and several press conferences in which Irving refused to condemn anti-Semitism. The Nets said the suspension will last “no less” than five games.
In a statement, the organization said it made the decision after “repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the evil and danger of his words and actions, which began with the publication of a film containing deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hatred”.
The team added that they were “appalled” by a Thursday media session in which Irving, 30, was asked directly by reporters if he held anti-Semitic beliefs.
“Kyrie declined to state unequivocally that he held no anti-Semitic beliefs, or to acknowledge any specific hateful elements in the film,” the Nets said. “It was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.”
“As a result, we are of the opinion that he is currently unsuitable to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” the team wrote. “We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective corrective measures which address the adverse impact of his conduct and the period of suspension served is not less than five games. .”
Movingsaid in his own statement that he was “disappointed” that Irving did not issue an “unreserved apology and more specifically denounce the despicable and harmful content contained in the film he has chosen to release”, adding that he was planning to meet Irving next week to “discuss this situation”.
The teamin a joint statement with Irving and the Anti-Defamation League that Irving and the Nets would each donate $500,000 to anti-hate groups.
In that statement, Irving wrote, “I stand against all forms of hate and oppression and I stand firm with communities who are marginalized and impacted every day.”
He also said he was “aware of the negative impact of my message on the Jewish community and I take responsibility for that. I do not believe that anything said in the documentary is true or reflects my morals and my convictions”.
The controversy began when Irving posted a link on Twitter on Oct. 27 to the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” The synopsis on Amazon says the 2018 film “uncovers the true identity of the children of Israel.”
The film is filled with conspiracy theories about the Jewish people, including false claims that Jews dominate the slave trade.
The following day, Nets owner Joe Tsai wrote on Twitter that he was “disappointed” that Irving appeared to support a film “based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation.”
“I want to sit down and make sure he understands this hurts us all, and as a man of faith, it’s wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion,” he said. wrote Tsai.
The tweet drew criticism from across the NBA community. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley told TNT on Tuesday, before the suspension was announced, that he felt the NBA was “dropping the ball” by allowing Irving to continue playing.
“I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner] should have suspended it,” Barkley said.