‘Unfit to Be Associated’ Kyrie Irving Suspended After Antisemitic Tweet

Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Kyrie Irving of Brooklyn Nets is warming up before the NBA match between Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on March 27, 2022. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday the removal of the private sector mandate, clearing the way for Irving to play at Barclays Center and eventually become a full-time player. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets decided on November 3 to suspend star point guard Kyrie Irving. The 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist tweeted on October 27 promoting the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. The 2018 film is based on a book of the same name that heavily promotes Black Hebrew ideology. The Nets announced the suspension of Irving and called him “unfit to be associated” with the team because he had failed to declare he held no antisemitic views in the wake of tweeting about the controversial documentary.

Kyrie Irving Faces an Uncertain Future After Suspension

The Nets Suspend Irving

The Brooklyn-based franchise released its statement on November 4, which included the following: “Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team.”

The point guard’s refusal to immediately apologize only incensed the backlash from fans and prompted the Nets to suspend him. Following his suspension, Irving released a statement on Instagram: “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.” 

The Nets said before Irving’s apology – they made multiple attempts to help the Point Guard understand the harm of his actions. Despite the Barclays Center team trying their best to help Irving see the error of his ways, it was obvious during his post-practice interview earlier that day – he was adamant he had done nothing wrong. The Nets star stated he meant no harm and confirmed certain things in the film were untrue, but he stopped short of apologizing for posting the link.

Following his apology statement late on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League C.E.O Jonathan A. Greenblatt issued a statement: Greenblatt acknowledges the apology is a positive step, but due to Irving’s previous actions he adds trepidation is needed. The ADL C.E.O also mentions how the documentary and the book are now best sellers on Amazon. 

Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America

The 2018 documentary was directed by Ronald Dalton, Jr, and based on his book of the same name. A description of the film states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel.”

The film has courted controversy since its release with its antisemitic views. The film includes disturbing denials of the Holocaust. The 2018 film also claims that Jewish people worship Satan and throws numerous accusations at all Jewish people.

The documentary states that “that many high-ranking Jews have reported worshipping Satan and Lucifer.” The film is tough to watch for many reasons but sinks to an abhorrent low when it provides a fabricated quote from Adolf Hitler to promote the film’s antisemitic central theme.

When asked about the documentary during that now infamous post-practice interview, Irving said: “Those falsehoods are unfortunate,” referring to the content in the film. When listening to this quote, it is difficult not to think that if he is aware of the falsehoods present, why would he share it with his 4+ million Twitter followers knowing the influence he has on many people?

The Future of The Brooklyn Nets

The franchise quickly suspended Irving for a minimum of five games. Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai voiced his disapproval of Irving’s actions when he said: “(I am) disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation.” 

Despite the Nets struggling on the court this year and firing Head Coach Steve Nash, they arguably need Irving more than ever. Jacque T. Vaughn has taken over the coaching job at the Barclays Center, and since his suspension, there has undoubtedly been an upturn in form. Kevin Durant is now doing his talking on the court, with Nic Claxton showing his defensive qualities and backup point guard Edmond Sumner also showing promise. With Irving edging closer to the end of his initial five-game suspension it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Brooklyn Nets. Coach Vaughn will have the task of integrating Irving back into a group of players who are improving game by game.

The Future of Kyrie Irving

Irving is without a doubt one of the most talented and decorated basketball players ever. Despite his recent meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the Brooklyn Nets player has an uncertain future in Basketball. He is currently nearing the end of his initial five-game suspension. 

Irving’s time in basketball has been tumultuous at best. His time in Cleveland ended badly as did his spell in Boston. It is the second straight season he has been sent away from the franchise (Brooklyn Nets), with the Point Guard refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, making him unavailable to play home games due to New York’s pandemic rules.

When Irving has been on the court with the Nets, he has shown his undoubted on-court ability averaging over 27 points per game during his 111 games with Brooklyn. Whatever the future holds for Irving, the Nets have stated his suspension would last: “until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.” The conditions include a $500,000 contribution to anti-hate efforts, a more fulsome apology and condemnation of the video, antisemitic and sensitivity training. A failure to meet any of these conditions could further delay his return to the franchise. When coach Vaughn was asked about the return of Irving he said: “I have no update on timetables at all.”

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