Tsai says Irving isn’t antisemitic; NBPA awaits resolution

Nov 10, 2022, 8:05 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2022, 10:08 am
FILE - Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against...

FILE - Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. The Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, dismayed by his repeated failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”(AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)

Suspended Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving and the Nets appear to be on a path toward reconciliation, though it remains unclear when the seven-time All-Star will return to the court.

Nets owner Joe Tsai said Friday that he and his wife Clara spent time with Irving and his family, and came away from that meeting convinced that Irving does not have antisemitic beliefs.

“We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group,” Tsai wrote.

Also Friday, the National Basketball Players Association told its members in an email that it expects the Irving situation to be resolved soon. It also thanked players for their patience and what the union described as “thoughtful comments” over the past couple weeks in regard to Irving.

“We believe the careful pause and reflection have started to pay off,” the union said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Irving was suspended by the Nets earlier this month for a minimum of five games, saying he was “currently unfit to be associated with the” team following his decision to tweet a link to a documentary that includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews and then not swiftly condemning the antisemitic tropes. The tweet has since been deleted.

Irving has served four games of that suspension; the fifth is Saturday when the Nets visit the Los Angeles Clippers. That means the first game Irving could be eligible when the Nets play the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

But no one has given any indication that a decision has been made regarding when Irving — a vice president of the NBPA — may return.

“The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education,” Tsai wrote.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn spoke to reporters after practice in New York on Friday shortly before Tsai’s tweet. Vaughn said there was no update on Irving’s return-to-play status. The Nets were flying to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon.

Some contents of the union’s email to members were first reported by ESPN.

“We have maintained from the beginning, and will continue to repeat every chance we get, that Kyrie and the Players Association unequivocally condemn antisemitism and all other forms of hate,” the union wrote.

It added, “We continue to make sure that Kyrie’s rights, and the rights of all future players, have been protected at every turn, and look forward very soon to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he has “no doubt” that Irving is not antisemitic; those remarks were made Thursday at a conference hosted by Sports Business Journal. Silver and Irving met in New York earlier this week.

In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Silver stressed that whether Irving is antisemitic is far from the lone issue, noting “the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

The fallout has had an impact: Fans wearing “Fight Antisemitism” shirts sat courtside at a Nets game that Irving played in. Nike suspended its relationship with Irving and canceled its plans to release his next signature shoe; Nike co-founder Phil Knight telling CNBC earlier this week that the relationship was likely severed for good for “some statements that we just can’t abide by.”

Irving has offered an apology “to all Jewish families and communities” that were hurt by his post.

___

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this story.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Players fight for a header during the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the United St...
Associated Press

In protest-riven Iran, some celebrate U.S. World Cup victory

BAGHDAD (AP) — Soccer fans in Iran’s Kurdish region set off fireworks and honked car horns early Wednesday to celebrate the U.S. win over the Iranian national team in a politically charged World Cup match that divided the protest-riven country. Cheering fans hit the streets in Iran’s Kurdish-majority province of Kurdistan and fireworks lit the […]
1 day ago
Spain's Ansu Fati works out during a training session at Qatar University, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday,...
Associated Press

Spain faces Japan looking to seal last-16 spot at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After conceding late to miss out on a victory against Germany, Spain finds itself with some work left to do against Japan to guarantee its spot in the round of 16 at the World Cup. It doesn’t need much, though, as a draw on Thursday will be enough, and even a […]
1 day ago
Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates after scoring the opening goal during a World Cup group F so...
Associated Press

Morocco looks to advance in World Cup, Canada hopes for win

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco is seeking to reach the World Cup’s knockout stage for the first time since 1986. Canada, already eliminated, is hoping to leave Qatar with its first win. Morocco would advance with a victory or a draw on Thursday night, and also could reach the round of 16 with a defeat […]
1 day ago
Christian Pulisic of the United States is helped by team doctors after he scoring his side's openin...
Associated Press

Pulisic listed as day-to-day with pelvic injury at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — U.S. forward Christian Pulisic is listed as day to day after sustaining a pelvic injury during his team’s 1-0 World Cup win against Iran that sent the Americans to the round of 16 of the tournament on Tuesday. Pulisic scored the 38th-minute winning goal against Iran, but crashed into Iranian goalkeeper […]
1 day ago
A woman holds up a sign reading Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran at th...
Associated Press

FIFA says rainbow items are allowed at World Cup stadiums

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — One day after Iran and Wales were eliminated at the World Cup, FIFA finally gave a public assurance Wednesday that rainbow items and banners supporting protests in Iran will be allowed into stadiums. Stadium security staff organized by Qatari authorities had seized items with rainbow colors and slogans such as “Women. […]
1 day ago
Men connect a homemade light with a battery to illuminate the pitch ahead of a soccer game during a...
Associated Press

In Ukraine, seeing World Cup, playing soccer pose challenges

IRPIN, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian video-game vendor Roman Kryvyi, fresh from a soccer game on a snow-blanketed field in suburban Kyiv, sat up close to a TV in a kebab shop as intermittent city power returned just in time for Tuesday’s World Cup game between Wales and England. For the 22-year-old soccer buff, there was […]
1 day ago
Tsai says Irving isn’t antisemitic; NBPA awaits resolution