Kyrie Irving Suspended by the Brooklyn Nets After Tweeting a Link to Anti-semitic Film


Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks to brings the ball up the court during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on November 01, 2022 in New York City. Photo courtesy of DUSTIN SATLOFF/GETTY IMAGES.

Jonathan Harris

Kyrie Irving recently took to Twitter to share a link to a film that contains anti-Semitic material. Because of this tweet, he was given a minimum 5-game suspension and a list of things to complete before he can return to the team. Many general managers around the league believe that Irving has already played his last game in a Nets jersey and if not, he’s placed a large target on his back so the next time he messes up, things might be over for his career. 

This all started when Irving got into a heated argument with a reporter in a post-game press conference after he tweeted the link to the film, in which he said “We’re in 2022, it’s on amazon, a public platform. Whether you want to watch it or not is up to you. There are things being posted every day. I am no different from the next human being, so don’t treat me any different. You guys come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have…”. He also said “I’m not here to be divisive on what’s going on ‘this’ or ‘that’. I’m not comparing Jews to Blacks, I’m not comparing whites to Blacks, I’m not doing that.”

 However, reposting a link to a documentary like the one he did, would make you seem like he agrees with the contents of the film. When asking questions, one of the reporters referred to the tweet as a promotion which seemed to ignite the argument between Irving and the reporter. The argument ultimately led to him walking out of the interview, with this leading to the Nets taking action and suspending Kyrie Irving. 

Irving was given a list of things to do to return to the team, which include meeting with NBA commissioner, Jewish leaders, and the owner of the team, speaking with the media and issuing an apology for promoting the film and for him to acknowledge that the message is harmful and untrue. He also must donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes and go to sensitivity training. Given that the commissioner of the league, Adam Silver, is Jewish, the meeting with him is a lot more important. Celtics forward Grant Williams, vice president of the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association), said the union wants to meet with him as well. 

The odd part is, another one of the things on the list was apologizing for the original tweet that started this controversy, which he had already done on his Instagram, right after he was suspended. It’s possible that Joe Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets,  wanted Kyrie to apologize in front of the media rather than typing up an entire apology in a social media post. Tsai spoke on Irving’s progress and said that he “has work to do” and must “show people that he’s sorry” before he returns to the team and doesn’t believe that his attempts at an apology were genuine, so following that, In a tweet, a little over a week after the suspension, Irving stated that he “was not put here on earth to participate in any religious/political wars or incite racial disharmony/prejudice within communities.” And that ” We are all equal under the sun and I am here to participate in the building of an Equal world and follow the Word from the Most High/GOD/YAH”.

Irving has been heavily featured in the news cycle just like he is every year, but this is viewed as his worst controversy yet. Last year, he sat out most of the season because he refused to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and the year before, he was in constant violation of the NBA’s Covid Health and Safety Protocols, by going out to parties and not reporting to the team for days, and sometimes weeks at a time.  

This season the Nets have been one of the biggest disappointments to the start of the season as they had a 2-6 record before Irving’s suspension, but since then, the Nets have tried to turn it around and have gone 5-3 without him and even through the doubt of GM’s around the league, Irving made his return Sunday, the 20th, with a win against the Grizzlies.