Kyrie Irving returns to Brooklyn Nets after apologising for failing to condemn antisemitism
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NBA star Kyrie Irving has returned to the Brooklyn Nets after apologising for not outright condemning antisemitism.
The basketball icon had been suspended from the Nets after posting a link on Twitter to a film called Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which contains antisemitic tropes.
Irving initially refused to apologise for his actions and would not directly condemn the film or antisemitic beliefs which saw the player suspended and his partnership with Nike also put on pause.
However, the Brooklyn player has now been more concrete in his assertion and apologised for his actions in an interview with SNY.
He said: “I’m not antisemitic.
“I never have been. 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. And it’s been difficult to sit at home with my family with them seeing all of this and having questions.”
The 30-year-old added: “I just really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community.
“Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community, I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions for the time that it’s been since the post was first put up.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think, but my focus initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.”
To All of you that are standing next to me on this Journey I want to say thank you, I love you, and I honor your fearlessness and bravery. You motivate me more than you know. Now, Let’s build and celebrate one another— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) November 20, 2022
The comments were enough for the Nets to reinstate Irving to the team.
They released a statement, saying: “Kyrie took ownership of his journey and had conversations with several members of the Jewish community.
“We are pleased that he is going about the process in a meaningful way.”
Returning to training with his team he faced reporters following the team’s shootaround where he admitted he should’ve handled himself differently.
He said, according to Wide World of Sport: “I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us and I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions, because there was a way I should have handled all this and as I look back and reflect when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted, that wasn’t my intent at all.”
Irving returned for the Nets on Monday (November 21) in a 127-116 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
He scored 14 points and managed five rebounds in the victory.
Featured Image Credit: @SNYNets/Twitter. Marty Jean-Louis / Alamy
Topics: Basketball, NBA, US Sports