The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games after he failed to apologize after sharing an anti-semitic documentary on Twitter – it’s the least they could do.
“Hebroes to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” is a three-hour “documentary” that espouses the philosophy of extremist Black Israelites: promulgating beliefs that Jewish people stole the true identity of being the descendants of Black Israelites, that there is a global Jewish conspiracy theory to defraud black people and that the Holocaust was falsified in order to conceal their own power, per the Anti-Defamation League.
The anti-vax, flat-earth-believing point guard is not new to controversy, but his bullheadedness to double down on hateful conspiracy theories – while repping Brooklyn of all places – is a new low.
On Oct. 30 Iriving doubled down in a press conference, saying “There’s things being posted every day. I’m no different from the next human being so don’t treat me any different. You guys come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have over top of the adultery of, you cannot post that. Why not? Why not?”
The deflection was beyond childish and neglected to take any responsibility. Saying “there’s things posted every day” negates his power and influence as one of the world’s best-known players and shows his inability to take the issue seriously.
On Nov. 2, The Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement, announcing that both Kyrie and the Nets will each be donating $500,000 to “eradicating hate and intolerance in our communities.”
When there was an actual cost to his actions, Kyrie took some ownership.
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Kyrie Irving said in the statement. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility.”
It reads nothing more than damage control, and Kyrie should have to demonstrate true evolution on the issue before getting back on the court.
Meyers Leonard, an NBA player for the Miami Heat at the tim,e who lacks the star power Kyrie has, was suspended indefinitely for using a jewish slur in a livestream.
In Brooklyn, the home to many Jewish people, shouldn’t the punishment be at least equal to Leonard’s?
People should be able to grow, and careers shouldn’t be wiped away from a single comment, but amidst the rise in anti-semitic hate crimes, the Nets need to tread carefully and actually demonstrate that Kyrie has legitimately evolved – not just a slap on the wrist and a donation.