NEW YORK (NEXSTAR) — The Brooklyn Nets are suspending Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay, saying they were dismayed by his failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
Hours after Irving refused to issue the apology that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sought for posting a link to an antisemitic work on his Twitter feed, the Nets said that Irving is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
“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,” the Nets said in a statement.
“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.”
On Wednesday, Irving said he opposes all forms of hate, and he and the Brooklyn Nets would each donate $500,000 toward groups that work to eradicate it. He said he takes responsibility for “the negative impact” of his post toward the Jewish community, but declined to explicitly apologize.
Silver issued a statement earlier in the day stating that Irving “made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive material.”
He continued, saying that he was “disappointed” that the NBA star hadn’t offered an “unqualified apology.”
After new broke of the suspension, the music mogul formerly known as Kanye West tweeted an image of the Nets’ statement with the message “This in not hate We are love God is love.”
He also tweeted screenshots of two headlines about former NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal and Amar’e Stoudemire criticizing Irving over the antisemitism controversy, adding “They make us bully ourselves,” and “They make us attack each other.”
On Wednesday, Ye appeared to show support for the Brooklyn point guard Wednesday, tweeting a black-and-white photo of Irving.
West himself is in the middle of widespread fallout from business partners, sponsors and fellow celebrities for his own antisemitic remarks on social media.
Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 but had faced criticism for embracing internet-driven theories before that. The then-Celtic apologized in 2018 for questioning whether the Earth was round.