Brooklyn Nets Suspend Kyrie Irving for Five Games Minimum

After parting ways with head coach Steve Nash earlier this week, the Brooklyn Nets announced on Thursday that it will be suspending Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay for his failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so, further stating that he is "currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets." It's reported that Kyrie's five-game suspension without pay will extend until he "satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct."

Last week, Irving was criticized for tweeting a link to the controversial movie "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," based on Ronald Dalton's 2018 book which is seen as antisemitic by civil rights groups. Following the backlash, the tweet was deleted and Irving and the Nets issued a joint statement apologizing to the public while vowing to donate $500,000 USD each "towards causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities" including the Jewish NGO, Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

However, in a recent media session, when asked whether he had any antisemitic beliefs, Irving answered, “I respect all walks of life. I embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit." When asked to give a clear yes or no, he responded, "I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."

The vague answers were unsatisfactory to the league, the Nets and the ADL, with the Anti-Defamation League issuing a statement refusing Irving's donation. Irving received a suspension and NBA commissioner Adam Silver is set to meet with him personally next week.

“Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material,” said Silver in a statement. “While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.”

This marks the second year in which Irving has been sent away from the team after he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 last season. The Nets are currently off to a slow start with a record of 2-6 as Irving heads into the final season of his contract.

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