The fourth time was the charm for Kyrie Irving.
The Nets star finally offered an apology for promoting an antisemitic film in a since-deleted tweet on Thursday night. But only after he was suspended indefinitely by the team and ripped by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. And after he had failed to apologize three previous times.
Irving’s statement on Instagram:
While doing research on YHWH, 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 responsibly 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.
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. 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. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I Am.
Irving released his statement after the Nets announced he will be suspended without pay for at least the next five games and said he was “currently unfit” to be associated with the organization. The Nets’ statement:
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 objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.
Irving failed to apologize for his promotion of the film — which included fabricated Adolf Hitler quotes and Holocaust denial, among other antisemitic content — and also endorsed comments by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a postgame press conference last Saturday. He then failed to apologize in a joint statement with the Nets on Wednesday night and Anti-Defamation League and then again during a meeting with reporters Thursday. The ADL announced it would not accept a $500,000 donation from Irving after his disastrous Thursday media session.
The non-apology in the initial statement incurred the delayed wrath of Silver. “Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material,” the commissioner said in a statement.
“While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]