(NewsNation) — For the first time, Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving is apologizing for his posts about an antisemitic film after being sidelined for five games without pay.
Irving’s apology follows a weeklong back-and-forth involving civil rights groups, the NBA commissioner and his own team.
In an Instagram post late Thursday, Irving wrote, in part:
To all Jewish families and communities that are hurt and affected from my posts, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Antisemitic.Kyrie Irving
Irving also acknowledged the movie has false views and says he should have outlined the specific beliefs he agreed with.
Hours before the post, Irving stopped short of apologizing.
“Just because I post a documentary doesn’t mean I’m antisemitic and doesn’t mean I’m automatically standing with everyone that is believing in that,” he said. “Unfortunate timing that we’re in, but I’m glad that I could stand on the truth.”
Irving’s comments also prompted the Anti-Defamation League to cut ties with him just a day before the Nets and Irving pledged $0.5 million each to fight intolerance.
The group’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, however, called Irving’s suspension “well-deserved,” tweeting, “We were optimistic but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions. The Anti-Defamation League cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”
Irving’s return is contingent on his completion of “a series of objective remedial measures” that address his conduct, the team said in an official statement posted online.
The rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, is facing his own criticism following antisemitic remarks. He showed his support for Irving early Thursday, tweeting a photo of the basketball player.
Following the musician’s antisemitic comments over several weeks, signs have popped up around the country supporting Ye’s statements.
On Saturday, a projector outside TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, read “Kanye is right about the Jews.”
Similar signs have been spotted over highway overpasses.
“Threats to the Jewish community have been increasing for many years now,” former FBI Executive Assistant Director for Intelligence Joshua Skule said Thursday on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live.”
He went on to say that a new FBI warning about a credible threat to synagogues in New Jersey, Kyrie Irving’s home state, weren’t likely to be connected to the athlete’s comments.
“I think what Kyrie Irving did and his suspension is being handled right now appropriately,” Skule said. “I think we need to remove the hate in our society and anything that contributes to that eight are calling for violence needs to be called out by leaders.”
The FBI is urging all synagogues in New Jersey to take security precautions to protect worshipers and their communities. The FBI, however, wouldn’t release any more information about who made the threat and why.