Kyrie Irving speaks publicly, does not apologize: ‘I didn’t mean to cause any harm’
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was disappointed he didn’t hear “an unqualified apology” from Kyrie Irving
Irving spoke to the media in Brooklyn Thursday. Silver is still disappointed.
Irving spoke publicly on Thursday for the first time since Monday, discussing the Tweet to his 4.6 million followers of a link to a movie that is anti-Semitic. Reporters in Thursday’s scrum described him as defensive. Here is a collection of reports out of Irving’s availability.
"I'm a beacon of light. I'm not afraid of these mics, these cameras. Any label you put on me I'm able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary."— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 3, 2022
Kyrie Irving with a lengthy answer on the public reaction to his sharing of an anti-Semitic film on social media: pic.twitter.com/JgG9hOFQiU
Kyrie: “I didn’t mean to cause any harm. I’m not the one who made the documentary”— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 3, 2022
multiple times kyrie irving said “I cannot be antisemitic if i know where i come from.”— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) November 3, 2022
did kyrie personally meet with the ADL?
“i was informed that they wanted to have a meeting. and we handled it.”
that was the end of the scrum—he walked away and ignored follow-ups
question: are you surprised that you did hurt people?— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) November 3, 2022
kyrie irving: “yeah i think i can ask a better question: where were you when i was a kid finding out that 300 million of my ancestors were buried in America?”
later he said: “i’m not here to compare anyone’s atrocities.”
Kyrie Irving just again refused to apologize, only that he meant no harm and doesn’t believe everything in the film. Grew defensive after about 60 seconds. Still doesn’t quite get it.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) November 3, 2022
Silver and Irving will meet in the near future. Silver released this statement earlier on Thursday, before Irving met with the media.
“Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material. While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”
Irving’s Tweet prompted considerable backlash, including fans sitting courtside for a Nets/Pacers game in Indiana wearing “Fight Antisemitism” T-shirts.
Irving, the Nets organization, and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement on Wednesday which included Irving and the Nets promising to donate $500,000 each “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
The Nets have been in the eye of controversy all season, including parting ways with coach Steve Nash seven games into the season. They were hoping that Irving’s donation and meeting with the media would calm the storm, but that has failed so far.
The Nets are reportedly moving toward signing Ime Udoka as their new coach — the coach suspended for the season by the Boston Celtics because of his actions related to an improper sexual relationship with a female subordinate. If the Nets go through with that hire, it will be another round of intense controversy enveloping the organization.
For now, Irving is the one in the center of that storm.