“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said in the statement. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles.”
Irving, who has faced nearly a week of fierce criticism, stopped short of formally apologizing.
“I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen,” he said. “So from my family and I, we meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people, and wish to only be a beacon of truth and light.”
In his post, Irving linked to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Thursday. When questioned by reporters Saturday about the film’s content and a previous social media post about Alex Jones’s “New World Order” conspiracy theory, Irving denied that he was antisemitic but refused to apologize, arguing that “history is not supposed to be hidden from anybody.” During the heated exchange, he said he had not done anything illegal or harmed anyone. Irving added that the “New World Order” conspiracy theory was “true.”
In the wake of Irving’s post and subsequent statements, the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, the Nets and team owner Joe Tsai issued statements opposing antisemitism. Irving eventually deleted the post without any public comment, and a group of eight fans sat courtside at the Nets’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday wearing T-shirts that read, “Fight Antisemitism.”
“At a time when antisemitism has reached historic levels, we know the best way to fight the oldest hatred is to both confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “With this partnership, ADL will work with the Nets and Kyrie to open dialogue and increase understanding.”
Nets General Manager Sean Marks said Tuesday that Irving did not meet with the media Monday or Tuesday because he needed time to “simmer down.” Marks added that he and Tsai were engaged in talks with the ADL.
“I’m certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in,” Marks said. “I’d like to get back to basketball. … There is no tolerance and no room for any hate speech or antisemitic remarks in this organization.”
After Brooklyn parted ways with coach Steve Nash on Tuesday, Irving looked disengaged throughout a 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The seven-time all-star finished with just four points on 2-for-12 shooting, the lowest point total of his four-year Nets tenure.
The Nets said Wednesday that they would work with the ADL, a nonprofit organization, to “develop educational programming that is inclusive and will comprehensively combat all forms of antisemitism and bigotry.”
“The events of the past week have sparked many emotions within the Nets organization, our Brooklyn community, and the nation,” the organization said in a statement. “The public discourse that followed has brought greater awareness to the challenges we face as a society when it comes to combating hate and hate speech. We are ready to take on this challenge and we recognize that this is a unique moment to make a lasting impact.”
Irving, 30, is averaging 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the Nets, who are off to a 2-6 start. The No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft has been a lightning rod for criticism for much of his Brooklyn tenure, including his polarizing decision to remain unvaccinated throughout last season.