NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he is ‘disappointed’ that Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has not issued an unqualified apology for publicizing a film containing anti-Semitic material and revealed he will meet with the guard on the issue.
Irving sparked controversy last week by sharing a link to a 2018 movie titled ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’, which is based on a book that has been described as ‘venomously anti-Semitic’.
Since posting the Amazon link to the movie on Twitter, the 30-year-old has faced backlash and has been condemned by the NBA and Nets owner Joe Tsai.
Shortly after Silver released his statement, Irving spoke to the media Thursday and took responsibility for his posts but once again stopped short of issuing a formal apology.
When asked if he was apologizing, Irving said: ‘I’m not the one who made the documentary.’ After speaking for six minutes, the press conference was cut short by a Nets PR staffer.
Wednesday, he pledged to donate $500k to causes that ‘eradicate intolerance’, which the Nets have matched, but also failed to issue an unqualified apology for his actions.
Silver released a statement Thursday criticizing Irving’s lack of an apology for his ‘reckless decision’ and revealed he intends to meet with the embattled star to discuss the situation.
The commissioner did recognize Irving’s agreement to work with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League but expressed his disappointment that the player had not done more to publicly denounce the ‘vile’ content of the movie.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver (left) said he is ‘disappointed’ with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s (right) lack of an apology for sharing ‘vile and harmful anti-Semitic material’ online
The Brooklyn Nets star caught the attention for publicizing the 2018 film which is based on a book of the same name that has been described as ‘venomously anti-Semitic’
The full statement read: ‘Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material.
‘While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.
‘I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.’
Irving grabbed attention when he posted the link last week to the film, which is based on a 2015 book by the same name, which Rolling Stone described as ‘venomously anti-Semitic.’ Specifically, it quotes Hitler to convince the audience about the existence of a Jewish plan for world domination.
Wednesday night, the Nets released a joint statement alongside Irving announcing the donations to ‘promote education in the community’ in the wake of the uproar to the player’s tweet.
In a lengthy statement posted on social media on Wednesday night, the Nets said: ‘The events of the past week have sparked many emotions within the Nets organization, our Brooklyn community, and the nation.
‘The public discourse that followed has brought greater awareness to the challenges we face as a society when it comes to combating hate and hate speech. We are ready to take on this challenge and we recognize that this is a unique moment to make a lasting impact.
‘To promote education within our community, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets will each donate $500,000 toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.
Irving was not made available to reporters after Monday’s game, but has since released a statement denying anti-Semitism. And although he stopped short of offering an apology, Irving did donate $500,000 ‘toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.’ That donation has been matched by the Nets
Fans sat courtside at Monday’s Nets game wearing T-shirts reading ‘Fight anti-Semitism’
‘The Nets and Kyrie Irving will work with ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting antisemitism and all types of hate that undermine justice and fair treatment for every individual.
‘This is an effort to develop educational programming that is inclusive and will comprehensively combat all forms of antisemitism and bigotry.’
However, Irving had previously appeared to double down on his tweet as he quarreled with the media during a press conference following the Net’s game against the Indiana Pacers last Saturday night.
During a testy exchange with a reporter, he said: ‘I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.’
The Nets star did eventually delete the tweet Sunday following uproar and backlash.
A group of fans sat courtside at Monday’s Nets-Pacers game in Brooklyn wearing T-shirts reading ‘Fight anti-Semitism’ and reportedly heckled Irving.
Meanwhile, both the NBA and Tsai had previously released statements condemning Irving’s tweet with the league insisting hate speech is ‘unacceptable’ and the Nets owner claiming it was ‘bigger than basketball’.
The NBA released a statement , insisting hate speech of any kind is unacceptable
Nets owner Joe Tsai condemned Irving’s actions on Friday and wants to speak to him
As consequence of his actions, Irving’s trade value has now been described as ‘radioactive’.
‘I talked to a lot of people around the league over the weekend and the sense I get right now is he’s radioactive,’ Lowe told ESPN’s Nick Friedell on a recent podcast episode. ‘Even if you drop the price to nothing, the baggage is just too much.’
The tumultuous week for the Nets was only exacerbated by head coach Steve Nash’s dismissal on Tuesday amid a 2-5 start. Assistant Jacque Vaughn served as an interim head coach in Tuesday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, but according to multiple reports, Nets general manager Sean Marks is interested in hiring scandalized and suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who was given a season-long ban over allegations of an improper affair with a team staffer.
The Nets have parted ways with coach Steve Nash amid a brutal 2-5 start, and suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has emerged as the favorite to replace the two-time MVP
The Celtics would not prevent the Nets from hiring Udoka, according to ESPN.
The tumult has prompted many in the media to call for Irving to be traded or released. Former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks (no relation to Sean) said on ESPN that Irving should be fired over the controversy.
‘How many more chances is this organization going to give Kyrie Irving?’ Bobby Marks asked rhetorically. ‘Enough is enough. I’m not talking from a trade standpoint.
‘I understand that Ime Udoka is the last person that could maybe reign this group in but if you’re the Brooklyn front office, send him home. You do not need Kyrie Irving.’
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