The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving after the 30-year-old refused to apologise for posting a link to anti-Semitic material on his social media.
The NBA team released a statement on Friday, confirming Irving would serve a suspension without pay of at least five games.
That suspension will remain “until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct”, the statement added.
Having refused to apologise on Friday, Irvine subsequently – finally – apologised, taking to social media to write: “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.”
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The Nets also said in the statement that they had made “repeated attempts to work with Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions”.
“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,” the statement continued.
Irving fronted the media on Friday, with NBA boss Adam Silver pushing for the Nets superstar to issue a clear apology for his actions.
Instead, while conceding he would take responsibility for publishing material that included “questionable” claims and “falsehoods”, Irving stopped short of explicitly apologising.
“I don’t know how the label [of being anti-Semitic] becomes justified,” Irving said.
“Just because I post a documentary (link) doesn’t mean I’m anti-Semitic. It doesn’t mean I’m automatically standing with everyone that is believing in that.“I cannot be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”
Irving confirmed he would be donating $500,000 to groups working to eradicate hate and admitted the film involved had a “negative impact” on the Jewish community.
But the Anti Discrimination League rejected Irving’s planned donation, blasting Irvine for his failure to apologise for his actions.
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ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted: wrote “We were optimistic, but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions. @ADL cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”
Greenblatt added his support for Irvine’s suspension.
“Good for @BrooklynNets,” Greenblatt tweeted. “@KyrieIrving has been given ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn #antisemitism. He has failed at almost every step along the way. The suspension is well-deserved.”
The Nets said in the statement that they were “dismayed” that Irving “refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film”.
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“This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify,” added the statement.
“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organisation, 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.”
It is a setback on the court for Brooklyn too, who has already fired head coach Steve Nash after a disappointing start to the season.