Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Boston Celtics during the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 25, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Nathaniel S. Butler | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Kyrie Irving returned to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday and apologized to anyone who felt threatened or hurt when he posted a link to a documentary with antisemitic material.
Irving was suspended by the team on Nov. 3, hours after he refused to say he had no antisemitic beliefs when meeting with reporters at the Nets’ practice facility.
Back at the building for the team’s morning shootaround, Irving said he should have handled that interview differently.
“I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech or antisemitism or anything that is going against the human race,” Irving said. “I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us and I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions, because there was a way I should have handled all this and as I look back and reflect when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted, that wasn’t my intent at all.”
Irving has missed eight games during the suspension, which the Nets said would be for a minimum of five games without pay. The team said he is available to play in its home game Sunday night against Memphis.
Irving said he was initially searching for more information about his heritage when he posted the link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on his Twitter page. When first asked about it, he was defiant about his right to post material that interested him. Then, he refused to apologize or clarify his religious beliefs during another interview a few days later, leading to his suspension.
“I was rightfully defensive that there was an assumption that I could be antisemitic, or that I meant to post a documentary to stand side by side with all the views in the documentary,” Irving said, adding, “How can you call someone an antisemite if you don’t know them?”