NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving apologized for posting a link to an antisemitic work on his Twitter feed, but not before he was suspended without pay by the team for his failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
Hours after Irving initially refused to issue an apology that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sought for posting the link, the Nets said that Irving is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
“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,” the Nets said in a statement.
“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.”
Irving issued an apology on Instagram after the team announced his suspension.
“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 said. “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 went on to say that he posted the link to the film without “outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.”
Joshua Skule, the former executive assistant director of the FBI, told NewsNation’s Dan Abrams threats to the Jewish community have been increasing for many years now. From Skule’s perspective, Irving’s suspension is appropriate.
“I think what Kyrie Irving did and his suspension is being handled right now appropriately. I think we need to remove the hate in our society and anything that contributes to that hate or calling for violence, needs to be called out by leaders. That could be public sector, those could be business leaders, but it needs to be called out and it needs to be rectified immediately,” Skule said.
Irving’s controversy follows rapper and business mogul Ye’s own costly display of antisemitism. Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo he didn’t believe in the term antisemitic and that Jews control the record industry.
NewsNation contributed to this report.