It took one week since Kyrie Irving initially tweeted about an antisemitic documentary but the Brooklyn Nets have suspended him.
Make no mistake about it–this suspension is too little, too late. The Brooklyn Nets should have taken action immediately when the tweet initially came to their attention. It isn’t enough to call out antisemitism whenever and wherever you see it but to hold people accountable for their actions. I’m glad to see the Nets are taking action but where was Adam Silver in all of this? I mean, Silver is Jewish and the commissioner of the NBA! While the NBA did put out a press statement last week, it more or less was an “all lives matter” statement to condemn antisemitism. Moreover, they didn’t even list Kyrie Irving’s name in the statement. It’s one of the weakest statements I’ve seen by far. (Edit: Silver is going to meet with Kyrie Irving in the next week per an NBA statement.)
Looking over the today’s press release, Kyrie Irving will be suspended for at least 5 games. The 5th game in the suspension is next Saturday so it’ll put the suspension at least a day longer than Meyers Leonard’s one week suspension in 2021. If you need a reminder, Meyers Leonard was suspended by all Miami Heat activities for one week as well as a $50,000 fine. Kyrie Irving is already agreeing to a $500,000 donation towards “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.” He sent his parents to meet with the ADL instead of meeting them himself. Today’s suspension came after another chance to outright say he is not antisemitic. He couldn’t do so. This is the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets. We’ll see who, if any team, decides to sign him next year.
There’s already a rise in antisemitism across the country. We look to actors, musicians, and athletes to act as role models. It’s sad to see celebrities liking Kanye West’s antisemitic tweets and Instagram posts. Celebrities have a platform to speak out against hate. Now is not the time to be silent against antisemitism. Please speak out! Right now, there are credible threats against shuls. We can not fight Jew-hatred alone. Allies, now is not the time for silence.
The Brooklyn Nets statement in its entirety:
“Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.
We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.
Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.”
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