The Nets suspended Kyrie Irving indefinitely and without pay on Thursday evening following a press conference earlier in the day in which Irving failed to apologize for his retweet of a link to an anti-Semitic film, further defended himself and did not answer whether he holds anti-Semitic beliefs.
The suspension will last a minimum of five games.
“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 actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hate,” the team’s statement, which is not attributed to an individual, reads.
“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 had no anti-Semitic beliefs. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.
“Such failure to disavow anti-Semitism 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 have decided 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.”
Thursday’s press conference also caused the Anti-Defamation League to drop any pretense of burying the hatchet with Irving despite releasing a joint statement on Wednesday in which Irving took responsibility for the retweet and pledged $500,000 to fighting hate.
“We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility but today he did not make good on that promise,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “Kyrie clearly has a lot of work to do.”
Asked not once but twice whether he has anti-Semitic beliefs on Thursday, Irving responded both times, “I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”
“I didn’t mean to cause any harm,” Irving also said. “I’m not the one that made the documentary.”
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