Nets star Kyrie Irving finally acknowledged the “negative impact” of his social media post last week when he shared an amazon link to a film filled with antisemitic tropes. In a joint statement with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, Irving said that he opposed all forms of hatred and he pledged along with the Nets to donate $500,000 “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
The statement was Irving’s first true showing of contrition after facing public backlash for the post that first appeared on Thursday on his accounts. Things only grew worse after Irving defended his right to post what he wanted during a tense exchange with reporters on Saturday.
Nets general manager Sean Marks had said that the organization had been talking with the ADL for guidance on how to handle the situation. Irving and the Nets said they will work with the ADL to develop educational programming to combat antisemitism and bigotry.
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said in a statement released Wednesday night. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles. I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen. So from my family and I, we meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people, and wish to only be a beacon of truth and light.”
The Nets will continue to participate in Shine A Light, which is an initiative that spotlights antisemitism, and they plan to host a series of community conversations at Barclays Center in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League.
“At a time when antisemitism has reached historic levels, we know the best way to fight the oldest hatred is to both confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds. With this partnership, ADL will work with the Nets and Kyrie to open dialogue and increase understanding,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “At the same time, we will maintain our vigilance and call out the use of anti-Jewish stereotypes and tropes – whatever, whoever, or wherever the source – as we work toward a world without hate.”
All of this comes following a post by Irving that linked to the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America!” The nearly three-hour-long film contains a number of historical inaccuracies and common antisemitic rhetoric.
Irving faced quick backlash after Rolling Stone had picked up on the tweet and reported on it last Friday. The Nets originally released a statement condemning antisemitism but did not address Irving by name.
Team owner Joe Tsai took a stronger approach condemning the post by Irving late Friday night. However, the Nets star made the situation worse on Saturday when he tried to defend what he had shared.
The criticism has only grown since then, but the Nets and the NBA did not move to take any action against Irving for his social media post. Marks had said that the conversations were ongoing when he spoke to the media following Steve Nash’s firing on Tuesday.
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The Nets GM did say that Irving would not be addressing the media so that cooler heads could prevail, so it’s unknown when he will get before the cameras again to address the topic. The Nets will be on the road for their next three games with stops in Washington D.C., Charlotte and Dallas.
The post was the second controversial thing that Irving had shared on his platforms this season. He had shared an old Alex Jones clip where the conspiracy theorist, who had claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting had been staged, espoused about a secret society that was pulling the strings in the United States.