“I oppose all forms of hate and oppression and stand strong with marginalized and affected communities every day,” Irving said in the statement. I am aware of the negative impact of my position on the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I don’t think everything said in the documentary was true or reflective of my morals and principles.”
Irving faced fierce criticism for nearly a week and stopped short of an official apology.
“I am a human being who learns from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen,” he said. “So from my family and I, we mean no harm to any group, race or religion of people, and only desire to be a beacon of truth and light.”
In his message, Irving linked to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Thursday. When asked by reporters Saturday about the film’s content and a previous post on social media about Alex Jones’ “New World Order” conspiracy theory, Irving denied he was an anti-Semite but declined to apologize, arguing that “history is not supposed to be hidden from anyone.” He said that during the hot exchange, he never did anything illegal or hurt anyone. Irving added that the “New World Order” conspiracy theory was “correct”.
In the wake of Irving’s post and subsequent statements, the NBA, the National Basketball Association, the Knights and team owner Joe Tsai issued statements opposing anti-Semitism. Irving eventually deleted the post without any public comment, and a group of eight fans sat courtside in the Nets’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday wearing T-shirts that read “Fight Anti-Semitism.”
“At a time when anti-Semitism has reached historic levels, we know that the best way to fight older hate is to confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL. “Through this partnership, ADL will work with Nets and Kyrie to open up dialogue and increase understanding.”
Nets general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday that Irving did not meet with the media on Monday or Tuesday because he needed time to “slowly boil.” Marks added that he and Tsai had been engaged in talks with the Anti-Defamation League.
“I am certainly not proud of the situation in which we find ourselves,” said Marx. “I would like to go back to basketball. … There is no tolerance and no place for any hate speech or anti-Semitic remarks in this organization.”
After Brooklyn parted ways with coach Steve Nash on Tuesday, Irving appeared unconsolidated during the 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The star finished seven times with just four points in a 2-for-12 shootout, the lowest point total in the Nets’ four-year tenure.
The Nets said Wednesday that it will work with the non-profit organization ADL to “develop comprehensive educational programs and will comprehensively combat all forms of anti-Semitism and bigotry.”
“The events of the past week have stirred up so much emotion within the Nets, our community in Brooklyn, and the nation,” the organization said in a statement. “The public discourse that followed raised awareness of the challenges we face as a society when it comes to combating hate speech and hate. We are ready to take on this challenge and recognize that this is a unique moment to make a lasting impact.”
Irving, 30, averages 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the nets, who started 2-6. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft was a source of lightning rod for criticism during most of his tenure in Brooklyn, including his polarizing decision to remain unprotected throughout last season.
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