Kyrie Irving returned to the basketball court after completing a long list of requirements the Brooklyn Nets bestowed upon him after his controversial documentary tweet. For his return, he received tons of support from the Black Hebrew Israelite group outside of the Barclays Center before the game. Here’s what went down inside…
The Brooklyn Nets issued a long list of requirements for point guard Kyrie Irving before he could return to the court after being suspended for tweeting a link to a documentary (“Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America”) that contained antisemitic messages. The requirements included a $500,000 monetary contribution to anti-hate causes, an apology for or condemnation of the movie, antisemitic and sensitivity training, as well as meetings with both Jewish leaders and Nets owner Joe Tsai.
Well, he fulfilled those requirements and was made eligible to return to the court for Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. After issuing several apologies, Kyrie shared another before Sunday’s game:
“I don’t have hate in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone that identifies as a Jew. I’m not anti-Jewish or any of that… I am no one’s idol, but I am a human being that wants to make impact and change.”
Kyrie Irving issues an apologypic.twitter.com/ixuYmmtm2t
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) November 19, 2022
During the televised apology, Kyrie said he is not antisemitic and doesn’t “condone any hate speech or prejudice.”
”I’m not antisemitic,” Kyrie said during an interview with SportsNet New York. “I never have been. I don’t have a hate in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone that identifies as a Jew. I’m not anti-Jewish or any of that…But I think the difficult aspect is just processing all this and understanding the power of my voice, the influence I have.”
During his chat with SNY’s Ian Begley, Kyrie said he reacted emotionally to being called “antisemitic.”
“I felt like I was protecting my character and I reacted out of just pure defense and just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought that I was being labeled as antisemitic or anti-Jewish, and I’ve felt like that was just so disrespectful to ask me whether or not I was antisemitic or not,” he said.
Check out his full apology/interview above.
The Nets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 127-115. Kyrie put up 14 points.
The 30-year-old NBA player had missed eight games since he was suspended by the Nets on November 3rd after he refused to say he had no antisemitic beliefs during a meeting with reporters at the Nets’ practice facility.
Before Sunday’s game, a large group of men from Israel United in Christ, which is a Black Hebrew Israelite group, gathered in support of Kyrie Irving. They stood outside of the Barclays Center, chanting and handing out paraphernalia that contained antisemitic material. The organization’s website says its mission is to “wake up the 12 Tribes of Israel.”
Check out the clip below:
Kyrie Irving has a lot of support outside of Barclays Center today
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) November 20, 2022
Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown quote-tweeted the video of Kyrie’s supporters with the caption, “Energy.”
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) November 20, 2022
Later, Jaylen took to Twitter to clarify that he didn’t know which group had rallied to support Kyrie. He mistook the men for members of a Greek fraternity:
A reporter informs Kyrie Irving of the events outside Barclays Center. pic.twitter.com/WUqkMrhY6H
— Hoop God (@TheeHoopGod) November 21, 2022
”I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight. I was celebrating the unification of our people welcoming the return of Kyrie to the court, first glance I thought it was a known fraternity the (C/Que’s) Omega psi phi (step’n) showing support,” he tweeted.
During his post-game interview, reporters asked Kyrie what he thought about the group outside of the arena, to which he responded, “That’s a conversation for another day.” He said he hadn’t seen the supporters outside of the arena.
“I’m just here to focus on the game,” he said.
When asked if he would file a grievance over his suspension, Irving said he’d leave that decision to his legal team.
“I have some strong people, men and women, around me that are going to do everything possible to make sure that I’m protected and my family’s protected and we protect one another, so I’m sure some things will be done in the future,” Kyrie said. “There’s no timetable on that right now.”
It definitely appears this isn’t over yet.
Watch his post-game interview below:
Do you think Kyrie’s list of demands were too much? Or, do you think he should have done more?