Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is cleared to play tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. The clearance marks the end of Irving’s eight-game suspension for “harmful impact of his conduct” relating to his social media post last month publicizing a movie that contained anti-semitic ideas.
During a press conference this morning, Irving apologized again to those impacted by his behavior and talked about how this process helped him learn the responsibility that comes with his platform.
“I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech, or antisemitism, or anything that is anti going against the human race,” Irving said. “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 of this.
“... I meant no harm to any person, any group of people. And yeah, this is a big moment for me because I’m able to learn throughout this process that the power of my voice is very strong. The influence that I have within my community is very strong. And I want to be responsible for that. In order to do that, we have to admit when you were wrong and instances where you hurt people and it impacts them.”
In a statement released today, the Brooklyn Nets commended Irving’s recent work to learn from his mistakes.
“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,” the team said.
The NBA Players Association also released a statement, saying Irving has undergone personal growth from this experience.
“Over the past several weeks, he has been on a journey of reflection, learning and open dialogue,” the union said in a statement. “Through meetings and conversations with leaders from the Jewish community as well as other thought leaders he’s developed a deeper understanding and has grown personally from this experience.”
Irving first apologized for his actions in an Instagram post on Nov. 3, the day the Nets suspended him. He publicly apologized for his actions a second time on Saturday during an interview with SNY.
He hasn’t played in a game since Nov. 1.
More quotes from Irving during today’s press conference can be found in this ESPN piece by Nick Friedell.