Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets star who was banned by the team for at least five games for comments after sharing a link to an anti-Semitic film on social media, has issued another apology as his possible return from suspension draws nearer .
Speaking in an interview with SNY’s Ian Begley on Saturday, Irving said he wanted to “focus on the pain I’ve caused or the impact I’ve had within the Jewish community. Imposing some kind of threat or perceived threat on the Jewish community,” Irving told SNY.
“I just want to sincerely apologize for all my actions in the time that has passed since this post was first published. I’ve had plenty of time to think. But if I could do it all over again, I would first focus on healing and restoring many of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.”
the nets suspended Irving earlier this monthHe said at the time, “He’s in no position to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets at this time.” The 30-year-old has missed the team’s last eight games.
Irving’s posting on Twitter of a link to a documentary with anti-Semitic messages — followed by an initial refusal to apologize — led to his suspension on Nov. 3, the Nets said. Hours later, Irving posted an apology on Instagram.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing sources, Irving could return as early as Sunday when Brooklyn plays the Memphis Grizzlies at home. The Nets currently list Irving as questionable.
Irving reiterated that he was not “anti-Jewish” and apologized to the Jewish community.
“I have no hatred in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone who identifies as a Jew. I’m not anti-Jewish or anything,” Irving told SNY. “And it’s been difficult sitting at home with my family when they see all this and have questions. You know, the part that was the hardest was explaining myself because I know who I am and I know what I represent.”
After much discussion over the past few weeks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Nets owner Joe Tsai and Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt have all come to Irving’s defense.
Tsai, who was quick to condemn Irving’s actions early in the controversy, said he met with Irving and his family last week doesn’t think he’s an anti-Semite.
“We’ve spent a lot of time understanding each other, and I realize that Kyrie does not harbor any hatred towards Jewish people or any other groups,” Tsai said on social media. “The Nets and Kyrie are working constructively with the NBA and NBPA on a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”
After meeting Irving last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he believed Irving was not an anti-Semite.
Irving described the talks as a “learning journey.”
“It was a lot of pain that needed to be healed, a lot of conversations that needed to be had. And a lot of thinking. I’ve had a chance to do that with people from the Jewish community, people from the black community, people from the white community,” Irving said.
Irving was asked why he didn’t originally apologize at the initial press conferences, to which he replied that he had reacted emotionally to being called an “anti-Semite”.
“I felt like I was protecting my character and I was reacting in pure defense and hurting myself that I might be labeled, or I thought I was being labeled anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish and I felt that was fair It’s so disrespectful to ask me whether I’m anti-Semitic or not,” Irving said.
“Now to the outside world, that may have been taken as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Which should rightly have been: ‘No, I’m not an anti-Semite. No, I’m not anti-Jewish. “I’m a person who believes that we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love and that should be the priority,” he continued.
Irving concluded, “I care about people. When I’ve hurt someone, I want to take my accountability and responsibility and say, ‘I’ll do better.’ ”