For once, the Brooklyn Nets might end a day with fewer problems than they began it with.
The embattled franchise is in the midst of poor on-court performance and a highly controversial coaching change, but nothing has plagued the team more than Kyrie Irving’s erratic behavior. The basketball star, who has been a political lightning rod in recent years for his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine, came under fire for his social media promotion of a documentary called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is filled with ahistorical claims about Jewish people.
He has refused to apologize since, and his refusal to disavow antisemitism led his team to suspend him without pay. For days, he remained steadfast in his refusal to admit wrongdoing. But that changed late Thursday night, when he took to his personal Instagram to post a statement apologizing for his conduct.
“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,” Irving wrote. “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.”
But not so fast. While many Nets fans will feel like the apology is long overdue, it won’t be enough to get Irving back on the court. Nets general manager Sean Marks said on Friday that Irving will still have to serve the remainder of his five-game suspension and speak with counselors and Jewish leaders before the team will consider reinstating him.
“There is going to be some remedial steps and measures that have been put in place for him to, obviously, seek some counseling designated by the team,” Marks said. “We’ll evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”
Irving’s statement continued, “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.”