Basketball player Kyrie Irving finally apologises for promoting allegedly antisemitic film after being suspended for five games
The Brooklyn Nets and its star player Kyrie Irving, have both pledged to donate $500,000 to tackling hatred, as the star player finally apologises for promoting an allegedly antisemitic film.
Mr Irving was earlier criticised for an initially weak apology that he gave as the controversy persisted, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver describing Mr Irving’s tweet linking to the film as “reckless” and reportedly expressing disappointment that he had not yet delivered an unqualified apology. A recent Nets game was also protested by the Jewish community.
The player has also been suspended for five games.
Mr Irving has now issued a more fulsome apology, saying: “While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false antisemitic 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 apologise. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labelled antisemitic, 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 antisemitism by apologising 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.”
Last week, the Nets’ star guard posted a link to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Twitter. The film supposedly “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel.”
The notion that Black Americans are the true Jews is an increasingly popular conspiracy theory and was also recently promoted by Kanye West. It features too in the ideology of the Black Israelite Hebrews, an extremist Black supremacist group that has also harassed and intimidated Jews on the streets of the UK and the London Underground and is thought to have been connected to the New Jersey kosher grocery store shooting in 2019.
Nets’ owner Joe Tsai said: “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
Mr Irving earlier said on Twitter: “I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs…the Antisemitic label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, posted his support of Mr Irving on Twitter yesterday, reiterating sentiments the musician has made in the past few weeks, writing: “You can’t be anti-Semite when you know you are Semite.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism launched a successful petition garnering over 180,000 signatures which called on global retailer Adidas to end its partnership with Ye following his repeated antisemitic outbursts.
Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on news and incidents relating to antisemitism throughout the United States.