Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is serving a minimum five-game suspension for sharing a link to a film containing anti-Semitic material. Before he can return after Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Irving also has to fulfill a list of requirements put forth by the team.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Lebron James thinks the steps, which include a $500,000 contribution to anti-hate efforts and anti-Semitic and sensitivity training, are a little excessive. James also noted Irving issued an apology soon after the suspension was handed down in a series of tweets:
“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way, but Kyrie apologized, and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor, I think, is excessive, IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session. “
After a game against the Utah Jazz on Nov. 5th, James acknowledged that the film Irving shared on his Twitter account was harmful to people.
From the Nets Daily:
“I believe what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people,” James said. “He has since, over the last – today, or was it yesterday? – he apologized. But he caused some harm, and I think it’s unfortunate.
I don’t stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything. So, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are, what position you are in. If you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harm people, then I don’t respect it. I don’t condone it.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has met with the Brooklyn Nets guard and stated to the New York Times he doesn’t feel like Irving is anti-Semitic. “We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver said of his talk with Irving. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an anti-Semitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.”
Even with the discussion, Silver still felt the terms of Irving’s suspension were justified. “I feel that we got to the right outcome here regarding his suspension,” Silver added. “And in retrospect, we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that criticism. But I felt it was important to understand the context in which it was posted to understand what discipline was appropriate, not in any way to excuse it but to understand what discipline was appropriate.”
There has been some discussion of an appeal among several members of the Players Associated union board, including Jaylen Brown and Grant Williams. Irving is a vice president of the NBPA and executive board.