Kyrie Irving was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday for a minimum of five games without pay following several days of calls for the team to act after the All-Star guard promoted a movie with antisemitic tropes on his social media platforms. This issue came after Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, publicly expressed his dissatisfaction, and Irving made multiple attempts to retract his promotion of the movie and denounce antisemitism.
According to Shams Charania, Irving needs to meet six conditions in order for him to return to the team:
- Apologize and denounce the movie he supported
- Donate $50000 to organizations working to end hatred
- Complete the sensitivity training
- Complete antisemitism training
- Meet with Jewish leaders and the ADL
- Convey his awareness of the circumstance by meeting with team owner Joe Tsai
Many people thought the Nets took too long to suspend Irving, but Tsai wanted to give his All-Star player plenty of opportunity to repent. According to a source, Tsai allegedly texted Irving several times over the past week to try and fix the issue, but Irving never replied.
The last straw for Tsai and the Nets was when Irving refused to reply “No” when asked if he held antisemitic sentiments when speaking to the media on Thursday after practice. Instead of repeatedly stating, “If only I am aware of my origins, I cannot be antisemitic.” Irving will be eligible to rejoin the team after he “satisfies a set of objective remedial steps.”. According to the Brooklyn Nets, who chose to suspend him for almost five games without pay because they believe he is no longer suited to have a connection with the Brooklyn Nets.
It’s unclear whether Irving’s apology will suffice or if he’ll have to make a statement during his suspension verbally. Irving apologized late Thursday night, hours after the Nets suspended him. Asserting in part, “to All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt, upset, and affected by my post, I am extremely sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.” Sean Marks, general manager of the New York Nets, responded to Irving’s Instagram apologies by calling it a “start in the right direction” but “definitely not enough.”
On Friday, the Nets’ game against the Wizards will mark the start of Irving’s five-game suspension. If Irving’s punishment is merely five games, he will be able to play again on November 13 when the Nets play the Lakers in Los Angeles.