On Monday, after the Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday afternoon, Kyrie Irving answered questions from reporters at Barclays Center.
The questions focused on the controversy surrounding Irving’s alleged promotion of a documentary critics deemed ‘antisemitic.’
In a now-deleted tweet, the professional basketball player posted a link to the 2018 film adaptation of Ronald Dalton’s book “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Rolling Stone claimed that the book and the film were “stuffed with antisemitic tropes,” CNN reported.
“I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs. The “Anti-Semitic” label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in every day. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions,” Irving wrote.
“History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody, and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion. I embrace all walks of life. You see it on all my platforms. I talk to all races, all cultures, all religions. And my response would be, it’s not about educating yourself on what Semitism is or what anti-Semitism is. It’s really about where the root words, where these come from and understanding that this is an African heritage that is also belonging to the people,” Irving said during the press conference on Thursday.
“I’m not comparing Jews to Blacks. I’m not comparing White to Black; I’m not doing that. That conversation is dismissive, and it constantly revolves around the rhetoric of who are the chosen people of God. And I’m not here to argue over a person, or culture, or religion on what they believe. Nah, This is what is here. It’s on a public platform. Did I do anything illegal?”
“So, I’m not going to stand down on anything that I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets announced that Kyrie Irving will serve a suspension without pay over his failure to disavow antisemitism(?)
The Nets added that he is currently unfit to be associated with the team.
Below is the statement from Brooklyn Nets:
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 obiective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.