Kyrie Irving Apologizes On Instagram After Anti-Defamation League Rejects $500K Donation, Suspension

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted an apology on his Instagram account late Thursday night for antisemitic behavior. Earlier in the day he was handed a minimum five-game suspension, with no pay, by the Nets and later a donation of $500,000 he had pledged to the Anti-Defamation League was declined.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt announced that the organization will no longer receive the player's donation, claiming that Irving has acted unapologetic to the backlash he's received. Greenblatt has been chief since 2014 and previously served in the White House as Special Assistant to then-U.S. president Barack Obama.

"We were optimistic but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions," the ADL CEO declared, quoting Brooklyn's suspension tweet.

Following Greenblatt’s announcement, Irving posted an apology on his Instagram.

“I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions,” Irving’s caption read. “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.”

Irving was criticized for posting a link to a film titled Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. The film contains racially charged messaging, which Irving has not voiced or discussed at length.

On Wednesday, the Nets and Irving released a joint statement pledging the large donation to the ADL after meeting to discuss a potential remedy to the online controversy. Team governor Joe Tsai made a statement Saturday condemning Irving's tweet, which has since been deleted.

The Nets assigned their five-game suspension after Irving spoke to reporters on Thursday and reiterated that he cannot be antisemitic and has a firm understanding of his beliefs. The ban will cost Irving over $2 million in game checks.

In several interviews, Irving was asked if would like to apologize for "promoting" the film.

OutKick founder Clay Travis reacted to Brooklyn's suspension of Irving, calling it hypocritical for the NBA to condemn Kyrie while Joe Tsai disregards China's ongoing human rights violations against millions of Uyghur Muslims. Tsai is the executive vice chairman of Alibaba, one of China's most prominent companies.

"The Brooklyn Nets are suspending Kyrie Irving for his opinions while allowing Joe Tsai, who defends actual Muslim genocide in China, to own the team. Please explain, Adam Silver. Seems like the player is being held to a far higher standard than the owner," Clay tweeted.

“I respect all walks of life. I embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit," Irving told reporters Thursday. “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

The Nets said they were appalled by Irving's response.

“This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify,” the team announced. “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 previously stated that his tweet was harmless since people hold the option to watch it (via Amazon, a public platform) or choose not to watch it.

"Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody, did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?" Kyrie told reporters Saturday.

"It's on Amazon, a public platform, whether you want to go watch it or not, is up to you. There's things being posted every day. I'm no different than the next human being, so don't treat me any different."

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)