After Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving experienced backlash for his promotion of an antisemitic film, the NBA star took responsibility for his actions. However, a direct apology was not in store until after he was hit with a suspension.
Last week, the 30-year-old athlete took to Twitter and shared a link to a 2018 film that displayed various antisemitic conspiracy theories. Although the tweet has since been deleted, the damage done to the Jewish community had already been committed.
The basketball player and his team agreed to donate $500,000 to various organizations in an effort to eradicate the rising antisemitism throughout the world but did not outwardly apologize for contributing to the spread of harmful misinformation until later.
Initially, Irving discussed his decision to post the link on social media. “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,” he said at the time. “I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
However, Irving’s team did not approve of these sentiments. “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic disinformation,” team owner Joe Tsai said in a series of tweets. “I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity, or religion. This is bigger than basketball.”
Following the encouragement of apologizing, Irving agreed to work with his team to disengage with antisemitic values. Yet, a formal apology was never issued until he was suspended.
Kyrie Irving says he opposes ‘all forms of hatred and oppression’ following his antisemitic scandal
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving wrote in a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which was issued by the Brooklyn Nets.
“I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles.”
He added the information, “I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen.”
According to the Brooklyn Nets, the franchise will be hosting informational meetings regarding antisemitism at the Barclays Center with civil rights organizations, including the ADL. According to CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, actively teaching the general public will help combat anti-Jewish sentiments, which have recently reached historic levels.
“With this partnership, ADL will work with the Nets and Kyrie to open dialogue and increase understanding,” Greenblatt said in a statement.
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