Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving issues new apology as possible return from suspension nears



CNN

Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets star who was suspended for at least five games by the team for comments made after he shared a link to an anti-Semitic film on social media, issued a new apology as his possible return of suspension.

While speaking to SNY’s Ian Begley in an interview on Saturday, Irving said he wanted to “focus on the harm I’ve caused or the impact I’ve had within the Jewish community. Putting some type of threat, or perceived threat, on the Jewish community,” Irving told SNY.

“I just want to deeply apologize for all my actions throughout the time since the message was first posted. I had plenty of time to think. But my goal initially, if I could start over, would be to heal and repair much of my close relationship with my Jewish parents, brothers, and sisters.

The Nets suspended Irving earlier this month, saying at the time “he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.” The 30-year-old has missed the team’s last eight games.

Irving’s posting on Twitter of a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic messages — followed by an initial refusal to apologize — resulted in his suspension on Nov. 3, the Nets said. Irving posted an apology on Instagram hours later.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing sources, Irving could return as early as Sunday when Brooklyn plays at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Nets currently classify Irving as doubtful to play.

Irving reiterated that he was not “anti-Jewish” and apologized to the Jewish community.

“I have no hatred in my heart for Jewish people or anyone who identifies as Jewish. I’m not anti-Jew or anything,” Irving told SNY. “And it’s been hard staying home with my family, with them seeing all of this and having questions. You know, the hardest part was explaining myself, because I know who I am. and I know what I stand for.

Over the past few weeks, after many conversations, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Nets owner Joe Tsai and Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt have all come to Irving’s defense.

Tsai, who was quick to condemn Irving’s actions early in the controversy, said she met Irving and his family last week and does not think he is anti-Semitic.

“We’ve spent some quality time understanding each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie has no belief in hating Jewish people or any other group,” Tsai said on social media. “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”

Following a meeting with Irving last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he believed Irving was not anti-Semitic.

Irving described the conversations as a “learning journey”.

“It was a lot of wounds to heal, a lot of conversations to have. And a lot of thinking. I was lucky enough to do this with people from the Jewish community, people from the black community, people from the white community” , Irving said.

Irving was asked why he didn’t initially apologize at early press conferences, to which he replied that he had reacted emotionally to being called an “anti-Semite”.

“I felt like I was protecting my character and I reacted out of pure defense and I was just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought I was labeled as anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, and I felt like it was just so disrespectful to ask me if I was anti-Semitic or not,” Irving said.

“Now, to the outside world, that may have been seen as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Which, appropriately, should have been “No, I’m not anti-Semitic.” No, I am not anti-Jewish. I am a person who believes that we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower ourselves with love, and that should be front and center,” he continued.

Irving concluded, “I just care about people. When someone is hurt, I want to take responsibility and say “I’ll do better”. ”


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