After suspension, NBA star Kyrie Irving ‘apologizes deeply’ to Jewish community

Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving posts video apologizing for posting link to antisemitic film, ahead of expected return to the NBA

By World Israel News Staff

NBA star Kyrie Irving apologized Saturday to the American Jewish community after he posted a link to social media for a film containing antisemitic tropes.

In an interview with SportsNet New York (SNY), the Brooklyn Nets point guard expressed remorse for promoting the film, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America!.

The film is based on the works of Ronald Dalton Jr., who has claimed that sub-Saharan African populations, not Jews, are the true descendants of the biblical Israelites.

“I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community. Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community,” Irving said.

“I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it’s been since the post was first put up. I’ve had a lot of time to think. But my focus, initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.”

Irving was suspended from the Brooklyn Nets earlier this month, after he refused to denounce the film, claiming he “cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

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After Irving refused to unequivocally state that he does not harbor antisemitic believes, the Anti-Defamation League refused to accept a $500,000 donation from the NBA star.

Later, in an Instagram post, Irving said he was “deeply sorry” for any pain he may have caused the Jewish community.

“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”

In his interview with SNY Saturday, Irving explained his initial reactions to the controversy.

“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.”

“Now to the outside world, that may have been seen as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Which rightfully so, it should’ve been, ‘No, I’m not antisemitic. No, I’m not anti-Jewish.’ I’m a person who believes we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love, and that should be at the forefront.”

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“But it wasn’t in that initial conversation, and I take my accountability and I want to apologize for that, because it came off the wrong way completely.”

“What I was really getting at was, ‘How can I be antisemitic, if I know where I come from?’ That statement itself was just referring back to my childhood and all the relatives and friends that I have made and that I will continue to get to know on a deeper level.”

“They’re Jewish – some of them are Jewish, some of them are not Jewish. I felt like that didn’t matter, and because I felt like that didn’t matter in the moment, it came off the wrong way.”