Despite prolonged speculation regarding his return to the NBA court, Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving made an appearance during Sunday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
At the end of October, the professional basketball player made headlines after he tweeted a link to an antisemitic film largely made up of conspiracy theories and harmful stereotypes. Following the severe backlash Irving received, he refused to apologize and his team initially placed him on a five-game suspension. On October 28th, Nets owner Joseph Tsai said he was, “disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation.”
The player continued to be critiqued for sharing the link, to which he relayed he was just trying to “learn from all walks of life and religions.” After issuing a statement of explanation rather than remorse, his team continued the suspension after the first five games. The team also announced they would be donating $500,000 to various causes to support Judaism awareness and education.
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Kyrie Irving is ‘deeply’ apologetic for sharing antisemitic film link on social media
However, on Saturday, Irving conducted his first in-depth interview since the incident. In the midst of the questionnaire, the Nets guard admitted his wrongs. “I don’t have hate in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone that identifies as a Jew. I’m not anti-Jewish or any of that,” the basketball player said.
“I’m no one’s idol, but I am a human being that wants to make an impact and change. In order to do that, I have to live responsibly and set a greater example for our youth, for my generation, and the older generation,” Irving continued. “So I just think I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community.”
He then formally expressed, “I just want to deeply apologize for my actions.”
After he explicitly apologized, his suspension status graduated to “questionable” prior to Sunday’s game. Although there was speculation that he would make a return for Saturday’s game, Irving did not play against the LA Clippers. Yet, the franchise owner is now confident that the player is committed to educating himself and others on antisemitism.
“It’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate toward Jewish people or any group,” Tsai said on Twitter over the weekend.
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