Nets star Kyrie Irving posted the link to an anti-Semitic film on his social media accounts. Despite deleting the posts days later, he failed to apologize for promoting said film, and has defended his actions at every turn.
Finally, the NBA and Brooklyn Nets have acted. The NBA released a statement disassociating itself from Irving’s comments, while the Nets suspended Kyrie for at least five games.
Breaking: The Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving without pay, the team announced.
The suspension will be for "no less than five games," the team said. pic.twitter.com/qCpVIc1yZC
— ESPN (@espn) November 3, 2022
rving’s suspension will be no less than give games, but as the statement suggests, there is no real timetable. If he continues to act in defiance — and spread beliefs that the organization and general public views as inappropriate, then there’s no guarantee he’ll wear a Brooklyn Nets uniform again.
What Nets suspension means for Kyrie Irving
By acting on his aggressions, in this case, Irving has fumbled this entire situation. First, he verbally attacked an ESPN reporter for even suggesting his post might be offensive. Since, he’s backed up that statement rather than apologizing, or even once saying he regrets the post.
Again, I watched the movie that Kyrie signal-boosted and when he says "I can't be antisemitic if I know where I come from," that's a tacit endorsement of the film's central, VERY anti-Semitic thesishttps://t.co/7rgJ8HeUdU
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) November 3, 2022
Irving once again on Thursday suggested he’s not an anti-Semite, but is merely exploring a thesis. Yet, spreading misinformation and giving it access to his platform is — in many ways — endorsing it. Just because the film is available on Amazon, doesn’t make it appropriate. Irving’s defense has been flawed from the outset.
The Nets franchise and NBA failed in this sense, as well. Brooklyn allowed Irving to play without punishment for two games, while millions of fans viewed him as a focal point for their product. Silver and the NBA didn’t act, either. Merely watching from afar while the noise grew louder isn’t leadership — it’s cowardice at every level.
Many around the league and within the Nets organization were hoping that Kyrie would say at least these two things today:
1. “I’m sorry.”
2. “I don’t have anti-Semitic beliefs.”
That did not happen.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 3, 2022
It is not overdramatic to wonder if Irving plays another game in a Nets uniform, or in the NBA, period. We live in a time where such comments or promotion cannot be tolerated. Kyrie received second, third and fourth chances to admit his mistake, and has yet to do so. In fact, he’s not even open to discussion.
It’s a long road back for Irving, despite what an initial five-game ban might suggest.