Nets' Kyrie Irving says he's 'not antisemitic' and 'should've just answered the questions and just moved on'
Irving has been suspended since Nov. 4 and is expected to return Sunday
In his first interview since the Brooklyn Nets suspended him, Nets guard Kyrie Irving told SNY's Ian Begley on Saturday that he "should've just answered the questions and just moved on" in two contentious press conferences after he publicized a documentary full of antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media. Irving said that he "meant no harm" by his initial posts on Twitter and Instagram, and repeatedly referenced his upbringing in West Orange, New Jersey.
"I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community, putting some type of threat or assumed threat on the Jewish community," Irving told SNY. "I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it's been since the post was first put up. I've had a lot of time to think, but my focus initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters. My journey is very unique. I grew up in a big melting pot full of different races, cultures and religions of people, so a lot of these conversations about antisemitism or anti-Blackness or anti-whiteness or any anti- that goes against a specific group of people, within my household, we used to talk about it."
The Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 4, announcing in a press release that he was "unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets" until he completed "a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct." Since then, Irving said, he has been on a "learning journey," which featured "a lot of conversations that needed to be had" and "a lot of reflection."
"I'm a man who stands for peace," Irving said. "I don't condone any hate speech or any prejudice and I don't want to be in a position where I'm being misunderstood on where I stand in terms of antisemitism or any hate for that matter for anybody in this world. So the process over the last few weeks was just a lot of conversations. I don't want to get too deep into the details of those conversations but they were very moving, very impactful and it helped me become more aware of the repair that needed to be done, the healing that needs to be done still. So here I am, just really acknowledging the fact that it hasn't been easy. Some of it has been painful, just learning about the history between different groups of people. And it's given me a greater perspective."