“I stand against all forms of hate and oppression and stand firm with communities who are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said in the statement. “I am aware of the negative impact of my position on the Jewish community and take responsibility for it. I do not believe that everything said in the documentary is true or reflects my morals and principles.
Irving, who faced nearly a week of fierce criticism, did not issue a formal 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 did not mean to harm any group, race or religion of people, and only wish to be a beacon of truth and light.”
In his article, Irving made a connection to the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Thursday. Asked by reporters on Saturday about the film’s content and an earlier social media post about Alex Jones’ ‘New World Order’ conspiracy theory, Irving denied being anti-Semitic but refused to apologize, arguing that “History is not supposed to be hidden from anyone. “During the heated exchange, he said he had done nothing illegal or harmed anyone. Irving added that the “New World Order” conspiracy theory was “true”.
Following Irving’s message and subsequent statements, the NBA, National Basketball Players Association, Nets, and team owner Joe Tsai released statements opposing anti-Semitism. Irving eventually deleted the post without any public comment, and a group of eight fans sat courtside during the Nets’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday, wearing t-shirts that read “Fight the ‘anti-Semitism’.
“At a time when anti-Semitism has reached historic levels, we know that the best way to combat the oldest hatred is both to confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “With this partnership, ADL will work with the 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 “cool down.” Marks added that he and Tsai were in talks with the ADL.
“I’m certainly not proud of the situation we’re in,” Marks said. “I would like to come back to basketball. … There is no tolerance and no place for hate speech or anti-Semitic remarks in this organization.
After Brooklyn parted ways with coach Steve Nash on Tuesday, Irving appeared disengaged in a 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The seven-time star player finished with just four points on 2-for-12 shooting, the lowest point total in his four-year tenure with the Nets.
The Nets said Wednesday they would work with the nonprofit ADL to “develop inclusive educational programs and comprehensively combat all forms of anti-Semitism and bigotry.”
“The events of the past week have stirred many emotions within the Nets organization, our Brooklyn community 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 countering hate and hate speech. We are ready to take on this challenge and we recognize that this is a unique time to have a lasting impact.
Irving, 30, is averaging 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the Nets, who start with a 2-6 record. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft was a lightning rod for criticism for much of his tenure in Brooklyn, including his polarizing decision to remain unvaccinated throughout last season.
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