Kyrie Irving Returns To Play For Nets After Suspension, Talks About Controversy

The star guard had missed eight games since he was suspended on Nov. 3.

Kyrie Irving rejoined the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday following his suspension after he tweeted a link to an antisemitic film and initially refused to apologize.

The star guard offered his “deep apologies” in a pre-game press conference held on Sunday morning, according to a clip posted by ESPN. He later scored 14 points in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies, helping the Nets win 127-115.

“I just wanna offer my deep apologies to all those who were impacted over these last few weeks,” he said. “Specifically my Jewish relatives, my Black relatives, all races and cultures. I feel like we all felt an impact.”

“I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech, or antisemitism, or anything that is anti going against the human race,” he continued. “I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us.”

Irving then said he wanted to take accountability for his actions because “there was a way I should’ve handled all of this.”

The Nets guard was widely criticized for tweeting a link to a documentary with antisemitic material titled, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” on Oct. 26.

When asked directly by reporters on Nov. 3 whether he was sorry for posting the link, Irving declined to explicitly apologize. He also sidestepped a question about whether he harbored any antisemitic beliefs by saying, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

The Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 3, saying in a statement at the time that he was “currently unfit to be associated” with the organization. The team criticized the guard’s refusal to “disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity.”

Irving issued an apology on Instagram later that day. He has missed eight games since the start of his suspension.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving dribbles against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday in New York.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving dribbles against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday in New York.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez via Associated Press

In his press conference on Sunday morning, Irving said that he came across the documentary in his search for a “deeper understanding of my heritage and where I come from.”

When asked in a press conference after Sunday’s game if he was considering filing a grievance against the team over his suspension, Irving said he was leaving that discussion to his legal team.

“I’m sure some things will be done in the future, there’s no timetable on that now,” he said.

Sean Marks, the Nets general manager, had told The New York Times earlier this month that the organization had planned to put forth “some remedial steps and measures” in place for Irving to return to the team.

The Nets released a statement on Sunday applauding Irving for his actions in his journey back to the team, the Associated Press reported.

“Kyrie took ownership of this journey and had conversations with several members of the Jewish community,” the team said. “We are pleased that he is going about the process in a meaningful way.”

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