LOS ANGELES – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving didn’t play in Sunday’s 116-103 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. It remains unclear when he will return from a team-imposed suspension.
“I have no update on timetables at all,” said coach Jacque Vaughn.
The Nets suspended Irving for at least five games for promoting an antisemitic documentary on his Twitter account and for initially refusing to apologize for it. Sunday’s game marked the sixth since the suspension began; Brooklyn continues its road trip in Sacramento on Tuesday and Portland on Thursday before returning home for a matchup with the Grizzlies on Sunday, Nov. 20.
Irving took to social media again on Sunday and posted: “I was not put here on earth to participate in any religious/political wars or incite racial disharmony/prejudice within communities. 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.”
Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted on Friday that he and his wife, Clara, met with Irving on Thursday. Tsai added, “it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.” Nonetheless, the Nets have said that Irving also has to meet with Jewish community leaders before returning to the team. The Nets offered no clarity if or when Irving has done that.
Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday. 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.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022
“The good thing is Joe put out that statement yesterday,” Vaughn said. “It shows where the collaboration and alignment is right now.”
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 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 told 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.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.