Nets Suspend Kyrie Irving
By Jason Hall
November 4, 2022
The Brooklyn Nets have suspended point guard Kyrie Irving without pay for at least five games amid his refusal "to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film" he shared a link to on his Instagram account last week, the team announced in a statement on NBA.com Thursday (November 3) evening.
“Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. 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.
"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.
"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. 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.”
On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver publicly sought for Irving to issue an apology for posting a link to an antisemitic film, with Irving instead saying that some of the things in the film were untrue, but not that he shouldn't have posted the link.
"I'm not the one who made the documentary," Irving said via ESPN.
The All-Star was then asked if he had antisemitic beliefs, which he denied, but said, "I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."
On Wednesday (November 2), Irving and the Nets announced they'd each donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, but Silver said he was still disappointed in the point guard's unwillingness to give a qualified apology.
"While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize," the commissioner said.
Last season, Irving missed significant time due to his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which prohibited him in playing games in adherence with New York City's COVID restrictions at the time.
Irving is currently averaging 26.9 points, 5.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds during the 2022-23 season.