Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving apologized Thursday (November 3) for tweeting about an antisemitic documentary hours after the team suspended him for at least five games without pay.
Prior to his apology, the Nets said Thursday that Irving was “currently unfit to be associated” with the organization after he refused to apologize for a social media post he made last week that glorified an antisemitic film.
Nets officials “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,” the team said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued.
Irving declining to “disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity” was “deeply disturbing” and represents “conduct detrimental to the team,” per the Nets' statement.
Following his suspension, the NBA star said on Instagram, “I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.”
“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize," Irving continued. "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.”
Irving initially faced widespread backlash for tweeting a link to the documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America." The Nets guard said Wednesday (November 2) that he didn't have ill intentions in posting the film and didn't believe all of its contents. However, he didn't apologize for the post and declined the opportunity to do so with reporters early Thursday.
In a joint statement with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, Irving announced Wednesday that he and the team would donate $500,000 each to organizations that work to “eradicate hate and intolerance." Still, the team moved to suspend him as he failed to produce the required apology.
The Nets previously said Irving will have to complete a “series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct" before they consider lifting his suspension.
However, it's not yet clear how Irving's recent move to apologize will affect his standing with the team.