A week after Irving first made mention of a movie with many antisemitic themes, the Brooklyn Nets announced on Thursday that Kyrie Irving will be sidelined for a minimum of five games without pay.
On October 27, Irving endorsed the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on social media. Despite numerous opportunities to express regret, he has so far declined to completely denounce the film’s content or apologize. Later on, Thursday night, Irving apologized through his Instagram account.
Kyrie Irving responded with a statement:
“I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibility for my actions. I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.”
Before the penalty and apology, NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed his disappointment at Irving’s decision to postpone an apology in a prepared statement. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also tweeted that Irving had “a lot of work to do.”
Irving responded that he “cannot be antisemitic if I know where I came from” when he was questioned about his perspective earlier in the day.
After addressing his action to advertise the movie, which is based on the same-titled book, for the first time on Saturday, Irving decided to double down. On Thursday, after practice, he tripled down, humiliating the team that had released a joint statement with him and the Anti-Defamation League the previous evening. Irving was given a whole week by the Nets to express some regret, but he refused to back down.
However, by Thursday night, there was a different perspective in Irvine’s statement:
“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving’s statement 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 will now miss games against the Wizards, Hornets, Mavericks, Knicks, and Clippers due to the penalty; however, it is unclear how the apology will affect the current sanction. The Nets’ game against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 13, is now the earliest Irving may play again.