The Brooklyn Nets have suspended point guard Kyrie Irving for no fewer than five games for failure to disavow antisemitic references. The franchise is calling Irving’s response “deeply disturbing”. They have also said Irving is “unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
The suspension calls for Irving to “satisfy a series of remedial measures” to address the harm before he can be reinstated.
Last week on Twitter and Instagram Irving publicly referenced a film which promotes governmental conspiracy theories and invokes several antisemitic tropes. He doubled down on his views and refused to respond to questions about antisemitism in a media conference today.
Here is the full text of the Nets’ press release:
Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.
We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.
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. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.
Irving has released a statement, apologizing to Jewish families and communities for his actions.