Jaylen Brown Gets Blowback After Saying Kyrie Isn’t Antisemitic; Irving Meets With NBA Commissioner

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Kyrie Irving has been handed an indefinite suspension of at least 5 games for tweeting a link to an antisemitic film. However, Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown, said the players’ association doesn’t agree with the conditions of the suspension and doesn’t think Irving is antisemitic.

Brown is vice president of the NBAP (so is Irving) and said that the Irving situation is something new. He explained how it’s a gray area regarding the distinction between saying or writing something and sharing a link.

“There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it,” Brown said.

“Some people will argue there’s no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There’s no language in our CBA. There’s no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody.”

Brown said that a significant number of players were not in favor of the conditions Irving must meet to end his suspension. These include an apology, a $500,000 donation, completing sensitivity and antisemitic/anti-hate training. He must also meet with the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish leaders and Brooklyn Nets brass.

“The terms in which he has to fulfill to return, I think not just speaking for me, speaking as a vice president from a lot of our players, we didn’t agree with the terms that was required for him to come back, and we’re waiting for this Tuesday meeting to happen to see what comes of it.”

Celtics Jaylen Brown — who is also an NBPA vice president — condemned hate speech, but said he doesn’t think that Kyrie Irving is truly antisemitic. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Brown Doesn’t Think Kyrie Irving Is Antisemitic

Brown played alongside Irving for a few years in Boston. He talked about whether he thinks his former teammate is antisemitic.

“I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic,” he told The Boston Globe. “I don’t think people in our governing bodies think he’s antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature.

“We don’t want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully, the NBA feels the same way.”

Brown’s Comments Drew Reactions

After Brown made his comments, people who both disagreed and agreed with him chimed in on Twitter.

However, others note a double standard in the way that the league has handled the Kyrie Irving situation versus other situations.

Irving met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and reportedly had a “productive and understanding visit.”

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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