Nets defender Kyrie Irving is facing backlash for posting a link on Twitter to an anti-epidemic movie last month.
For a week, he refused to apologize or say he had no anti-remedy beliefs, leaving the Nets on November 3. suspend him indefinitely. He has since apologized, but the problem persists: On November 4, Nike condemns hatred and anti-Semitism, and suspends relations with Irving immediately.
Irving, a seven-time NBA All-Star champion, has played for the Nets since 2019. He won the championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, but over the past few years, he’s often been talked about more because their off-field views. In a 2018 interview with The New York Times, he suggests that the Earth may be flatand in the past year he has refuse vaccination against coronavirus.
Here’s all you need to know.
What did Irving post on Twitter?
On October 27, Irving tweeted a link to “Black Hebrew: Awakening Black America,” a 2018 film fueled by protests about Jewish liars. about their origins. Among its erroneous and outlandish claims is the assertion that the Holocaust never happened.
Irving also made an Instagram post with a screenshot of the movie’s rental page on Amazon, which he linked to on Twitter. Neither post has a caption or comment from Irving.
Instagram posts are part of a story, a format that expires in 24 hours; tweet was deleted on October 30.
In a letter dated November 4The Anti-Defamation League and the Nets have called on Amazon to take down or add explanatory context to the film and a related book, writing that they were “designed to incite hatred and now it is popularized.” by Mr. Irving, will lead directly to the harm of the Jewish people”.
When did the backlash start?
On October 28, Rolling Stone Magazine reported on some of the film’s objectionable messages. Various other news outlets began reporting on Irving’s article and tweets.
That night, Nets owner Joe Tsai posted about the situation on Twitteradding that it’s “bigger than basketball”:
“I was disappointed when Kyrie showed up to support a movie based on a book full of anti-semiological misinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands how damaging this is to all of us, and as a person of faith it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion. “
On October 29, The NBA has released a statement condemns hate speech, but it does not name Irving. On November 1st, the NBA Players Association, National Basketball Players Association, issued a statement condemning anti-Semitismbut like the NBA, it doesn’t name Irving, who is one of the league’s vice presidents.
Anti-Semitism in America
Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of prejudice, and its followers say it is now on the rise across the country.
How did Irving respond?
Irving made his posts public for the first time on October 29, after the Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center. In one Controversial press conferenceIrving has doubled down on his support for the film and an anti-government conspiracy theory promoted by Infowars host Alex Jones.
“History is not hidden from anyone,” Irving said. He added: “I will not deny anything I believe in. I will only become stronger because I am not alone. I have an army around me.”
Irving accused an ESPN reporter of trying to “dehumanize” him when he and the reporter argued over whether Irving was “promoting” the film by posting about it.
The Nets replayed the Pacers on October 31 at Barclays Center and faced the Bulls in Chicago on November 1, but the team did not bring Irving to reporters after both games. Superintendent Sean Marks said the team doesn’t “want to make more noise right now, interact more with people.” (Nets, who struggled on the field, also fired their head coach, Steve Nashon November 1, but Marks said the move was unrelated to Irving’s situation.)
On November 2, Irving informed the Anti-Defamation League that he will donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes. The Nets say they will.
Irving said in a statement: “I am aware of the negative impact my post has had on the Jewish community and I accept responsibility. “I don’t believe everything said in the documentary is true or reflects my ethics and principles.”
Why did the Nets suspend Irving?
As of November 3, Irving has not yet apologized, nor has he made it clear what he disagrees with in the film. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he’ll see Irving soon.
Silver said: “Kyrie Irving made the reckless decision to post a link to a film containing strongly offensive anti-pesticide material. He added: “I am disappointed that he did not issue an unwarranted apology and, more specifically, denounce the vile and malicious content contained in the film he chose to make public. “.
About 30 minutes after Silver’s statement, Irving speaks to reporters at a Nets . practice session: “I didn’t mean to cause any harm. I am not the one who made the documentary”.
When asked what specific points in the film he disagreed with, Irving replied vaguely. “Definitely some criticism of the Jewish faith and the community,” he said. “Some of the points made in there are unfortunate.”
When Irving was asked if he has any anti-disease beliefs, he said he respects all walks of life. “I couldn’t resist if I knew where I came from,” Irving said when he was asked to answer a question with a “yes” or a “no.”
Within hours, the Nets suspended him for at least five games, saying he was “unfit to be associated” with the team. “Today we were very disappointed, when given the opportunity in a media session, Kyrie categorically refused to say that he did not have anti-remedy beliefs, nor to acknowledge specific hateful materials in the media. film. This is not the first time he has had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify,” the Nets said in a statement.
“The failure to reject anti-Semitism when given the opportunity is clearly extremely disturbing, goes against our organization’s values and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team.”
Marks, general manager, said Irving needs to meet Jewish leadersgo through counseling and group meetings, among other measures, before he is allowed to return.
What did Irving say in his apology?
Hours after he was suspended on November 3, Irving apologized in an Instagram postsays he “has no intention of disrespecting any Holocaust-related Jewish cultural history or causing any hate.”
“To all the Jewish families and communities hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you and I am sorry.
At first, I reacted with emotion at being unfairly labeled anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters traumatized by the insulting remarks. Hate is brought up in the Documentary. “
Why did Nike cut ties with Irving after he apologized?
Irving’s apology seems to come too late for Nike, suspending relationship with him “effective immediately” on November 4 and announced he won’t be launching his next signature sneakers, the Kyrie 8.
“At Nike, we believe there is no room for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on people.”
Nike has been producing the popular Irving line of sneakers since 2014; His contract expires in October 2023. A marketing expert said Brands have become more aware of their values In recent years.
Will Irving play for the Nets again?
The Nets said his suspension will last at least five games, meaning he may not return until at least November 13, when the Nets face the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Marks, the general manager, said Irving’s apology was a “step in the right direction” but “certainly not enough.” It is not clear if Irving agreed to meet with Jewish leaders or perform other duties from the team. He hasn’t spoken publicly since apologizing.
Some fans may not be ready to welcome him back, if that time comes. More than a million Jews live in New York City, and about 60% are in Brooklyn, where the Nets play at the Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue.
Ben Berke, a Nets fan living in Astoria, Queens, told The Times that Irving’s apology was an “improvement”.
“But I don’t want him on the team anymore,” he said.
Marks said on November 4 that the Nets had not considered removing Irving from the team.
Report contributed by Sopan Deb, Tania Ganguli, Julie Creswell, Jordyn Holman, Scott Cacciola, Troy Closson, Karen Weise