Nets guard Kyrie Irving and team said Wednesday they would each donate $500,000 to “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities” after Irving posted a link on Twitter to an anti-Semitic documentary last week.
The donations were announced in a joint statement from the Nets, Irving and the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that fights anti-Semitism.
“I am aware of the negative impact of my position on the Jewish community and take responsibility for it,” Irving said in the statement. “I don’t believe that anything said in the documentary is true or reflects my morals and principles.”
Irving added that he “did not mean to harm any group, race or religion of people, and only wished to be a beacon of truth and light.”
Irving initially defended the post at a contentious postgame press conference on Saturday, but deleted the post on Sunday.
The Nets declined to comment when asked if Irving would face discipline from the team. The NBA did not respond when asked if Irving would face league discipline.
Shortly after Irving posted the link to the documentary on Twitter, the NBA and its players’ union issued separate statements condemning anti-Semitism but did not name Irving, who serves as the union’s vice president. Only Nets owner Joe Tsai identified Irving by name in a statement he released on Twitter, saying he was “disappointed”.
On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement, this time referencing Irving. He said he appreciated that Irving was willing to work with the Anti-Defamation League, but that wasn’t enough.
“Kyrie Irving has made the reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said.
He continued, “I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an unqualified apology and specifically called out the despicable and damaging content contained in the film he has chosen to publicize. I will be meeting Kyrie in person next week. next to discuss this situation.
On Saturday, Irving defended posting the link to the film, saying “the story is not meant to be hidden from anyone.”
He said he found the documentary by searching Amazon’s website for “Yahweh,” the Hebrew word for God.
“Did I do something illegal? Irving said. “Did I hurt anyone? Did I hurt someone? Do I come out and say I hate a specific group of people? »
He later added, “I’m not going to give up anything I believe in. I will only get stronger. Because I am not alone. I have a whole army around me.
The Nets did not make it available to reporters after home games Monday and Tuesday, in violation of league rules. Nets general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday that Irving isn’t speaking to reporters because the team doesn’t “want to cause more noise right now, more interaction with people.” He also acknowledged that Irving’s press conference on Saturday didn’t go well.
Marks said Tuesday that Irving was not sanctioned by the team because the Nets were having conversations with the Anti-Defamation League.
“There’s an education room for everyone here,” Marks said. “There’s an element of empathy to that and understanding that we have to move on and we have to do the right thing without a doubt.”
Marks was asked Tuesday night how he would react to Nets fans who no longer wanted to support the team.
“Look, it’s understandable,” Marks said. “I completely empathize with what is happening here. I am certainly not proud of the situation in which we find ourselves.
The Nets lost to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, dropping them to a 2-6 record. The match was broadcast on TNT. Three former players who are on TNT’s broadcast team have strongly criticized Irving for his position and the league and its players for their responses. Shaquille O’Neal called Irving an “idiot,” Charles Barkley said the league should have suspended him, and Reggie Miller criticized other players for not speaking out on Irving’s post.
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