Kyrie Irving discusses post promoting an antisemetic film on his social media accounts. (1:23)
The National Basketball Players Association issued a statement Tuesday condemning antisemitism.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in our society,” the players’ union said. “The NBPA is focused on creating an environment where everyone is accepted. We are committed to helping players fully understand that certain words can lead to hateful ideologies being spread. We will continue to work on identifying and combating all hate speech wherever it arises.”
The statement was the union’s first since Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted last week about a 2018 movie based on a book that features antisemitic tropes. The statement did not mention Irving by name.
Irving’s tweet Thursday was condemned by Nets owner Joe Tsai the following day, and the NBA issued a statement Saturday night decrying hate speech. Irving tweeted Saturday that he is not antisemitic, but while addressing the media after Saturday night’s game, he stood by his tweet.
“I’m not here to argue over a person or a culture or a religion and what they believe,” Irving said then. “Nah, this is what’s here. It’s on a public platform. 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? So out of all of the judgment that people got for me posting, without talking to me, and then I respect what Joe [Tsai] said, but there has a lot to do with not ego or pride of how proud I am to be [of] African heritage, but also to be living as a free Black man here in America, knowing the historical complexities for me to get here.
“So I’m not going to stand down on anything that I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
Irving, who is one of the NBPA’s vice presidents, deleted the initial tweet Sunday. The Nets did not make Irving available to speak to the media after Monday’s game, and he did not speak to reporters after Tuesday’s loss to the Bulls, either.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday the team doesn’t want to cause additional “fuss” by having Irving speak again.
“I think everybody knows he’s going to have to answer these questions at some point, and he hasn’t sort of shied away in the past,” Marks said. “But I think the last postgame meeting didn’t go well — and we’re not trying to cover it up, I think this is something that needs to be addressed — but let’s address it in the right form and fashion.”
Marks said the organization is having discussions with the Anti-Defamation League for advice on the best course of action with Irving.
“Let’s let him simmer down and let’s … I guess let’s let cooler minds prevail,” he said. “We need to go out and educate ourselves, educate the whole group and get some direction, seek from the experts, and one of them is certainly the ADL.”
Information from ESPN’s Nick Friedell and the Associated Press was used in this report.