Following a week-long saga that saw interventions from the Anti-Defamation League and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay on Thursday, deeming the all-star guard “currently unfit to be associated” with the organization following his repeated refusals to apologize for a social media post about an antisemitic film and book.
Irving, who agreed Wednesday to donate $500,000 to support anti-hate causes in partnership with the ADL, said he “took responsibility” for the post but did not apologize when he met with reporters Thursday afternoon.
“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,” the Nets said in a statement. “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.”
The Nets concluded that Irving’s refusal to “disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity” was “deeply disturbing” and constituted “conduct detrimental to the team.”
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