Nets Condemn Kyrie Irving's Perceived Support of Antisemitic Film: 'This Is Bigger Than Basketball'

kyrie irving
kyrie irving

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Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai issued a strong message on Friday after superstar player Kyrie Irving shared a link promoting a 2018 movie based on the 2014 book Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.

"I'm disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic disinformation," Tsai said in a pair of tweets. "I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion. This is bigger than basketball."

The original tweet remains up on the 30-year-old Irving's account. Around 11 a.m. on Saturday, he posted, "I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs. The "Anti-Semitic" label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions. Hélà🤞🏾♾"

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Reps for Irving did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The team also released a statement, as reported by ESPN.

"The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech," they said. "We believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who have been supportive during this time."

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Written by Ronald Dalton, Hebrews to Negroes is filled with antisemitic tropes and stereotypes, according to Rolling Stone, including the more extreme views of Black Hebrew Israelites, who believe that Black people are the only true descendants of ancient Israelites.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Radical Hebrew Israelites "perpetuate the antisemitic belief that 'so-called' Jews have stolen their identity and 'birthright.'" The Anti-Defamation League noted that the Black Israelite Movement is divided into organizations and sects that "operate semi-independently," not all of which are extremist or antisemitic.