A fan who sat courtside at last Monday’s Nets-Pacers game with a shirt addressing Kyrie Irving’s recent actions says the Nets guard ‘should be welcomed back’ if and when he returns from his suspension of at least five games.
Irving was heavily criticized after sharing an Amazon link to ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,’ a movie rife with anti-Semitic tropes, and later refused to answer whether he held any anti-Semitic beliefs, saying he ‘cannot be anti-Semitic if he knows where he comes from.’
The Brooklyn star was suspended after those comments by the Nets ‘until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct,’ the team said in a statement.
But Mike Dube, who sat courtside at the Barclays Center last week wearing a ‘FIGHT ANTISEMITISM’ shirt with his son Jake, thinks Irving should be given a chance to correct his mistakes.
‘I think in any degree of life there needs to be repercussions… I think that if he was willing after a five-game suspension and his sneaker contract being stopped by Nike, [and] he showed some degree of [remorse], 100% he should be welcomed back,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t wanna start quoting scriptures, but that’s the way I live.’
Mike Dube (left) and his son Jake wore the shirts to a Nets game last week vs. the Pacers
Dube, an Orthodox Jew, helped found the charity Sharing Seats, which provides sick and underprivileged kids with tickets to sporting events.
He was part of a larger group of fans donning the shirts courtside as the Nets played Indiana, and said he’d love to speak with Irving.
The 50-year-old said he would aim to ‘hear his thoughts’ in a theoretical discussion with the seven-time All-Star before responding with his own.
And in explaining Irving’s missteps, Dube made it clear he does not believe the Net acted with malice.
‘I am a huge fan of his,’ he said.
‘But when you’re in the public arena, you need to be aware of what you say because it could be misconstrued. Because the millions of kids that follow him are now thinking that this is acceptable.’
Dube also noted, however, that ‘there needs to be a respect of other people’s beliefs.’
Irving has 4.6 million followers on Twitter and 17.6 million on Instagram, where he issued a full apology on Thursday for the first time since his initial posting of the film.
Kyrie Irving will have to meet a series of requirements laid out by the Nets to return to the court
IRVING STATEMENT IN FULL
While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions.
I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.
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.
I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.
I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.
I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being.
I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I Am.
Still, Irving will reportedly have to meet with local Jewish leaders and complete anti-Semitic training – among other items – to return to the team.
Irving has also seen his Nike contract suspended, with the company canceling the scheduled release of his Kyrie 8 shoe which was slated for later this month.
The movie is based on a book of the same name, which features Holocaust denial, and comments that ‘many famous high-ranking Jews’ have ‘admitted to ‘worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer,’ as Rolling Stone pointed out.
Dube, who said he was approaching the situation ‘with love’, admitted he didn’t know Irving’s true beliefs or feelings, but was more stern when addressing the lack of current NBA players who have spoken out against anti-Semitism over the past days.
While LeBron James said he did not condone hate speech, NBAPA vice president Jaylen Brown said the players’ union is expected to appeal Irving’s suspension, and former players like Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Shaquille O’Neal have been the among the loudest voices against Irving.
‘People are not willing to necessarily step up because they’re trying to focus on either evading the issue or not talking about it,’ Dube said.
Dube (third from left) was part of a larger group of fans wearing the shirts at the game
‘And that’s a big challenge… people are not willing to stand up for what’s right all the time, or what’s important.
In potentially making his way back to the court, Irving has a chance to just that.
‘I think he has a tremendous opportunity if he wants, and if he feels it to really come out about these issues,’ Dube said.
‘Nobody is going to force Kyrie Irving to speak up unless Kyrie Irving wants to speak.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk