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The Brooklyn Nets have suspended guard Kyrie Irving without pay after he repeatedly refused to apologize for advertising a contested film containing antisemitic rhetoric, the organization announced Thursday. Irving will be sidelined for a minimum of five games.
The statement referred to previous talks between the Nets and Irving regarding a potential apology for his “antisemitic” beliefs, stemming from a film titled Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.
During an interview on Thursday, Kyrie said he claimed responsibility for the backlash but declined to apologize since he at no point spewed spewing antisemitic rhetoric, per his testimony. To date, Nets owner Joe Tsai, GM Sean Marks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBPA have released statements condemning Irving’s platform for being hateful.
The suspension comes a day after the Nets and Irving pledged $500,000 each to the Anti-Defamation League to support the fight against antisemitism. Thursday’s suspension will cost Irving a minimum of $2,252,105 ($450,421 per game).
The Nets’ statement read:
“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 obiective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.”
After standing against the Nets’ rigid COVID guidelines last season, Irving lost out on “tens of millions” worth in game checks and a $100 million contract extension.
Stay tuned with OutKick as the story develops