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Nets suspend Kyrie Irving for at least five games after controversy

The Brooklyn Nets have officially suspended Kyrie Irving without pay after his recent comments on anti-semitism. 

Irving will be suspended at least five games as it comes after previous comments made by Irving that insinuated anti-semitism. Irving has been under controversy over the last few days as he was questioned over his repost of the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America on his Twitter, which displays themes of anti-semitism. 

When questioned about it last Saturday after a loss against the Indiana Pacers, Irving had this to say:

“It’s on Amazon, a public platform...Whether you want to go watch it or not is up to you. There’s things being posted every day. I’m no different than 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...[and say], ‘You cannot post that.’ Why not? Why not?” 

The media reacted to Irving’s comments with disappointment and called for his suspension. In a segment on Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley voiced his concern over Irving, stating that the point guard should be suspended over the comments. Barkley added that while Irving had the right to make comments, there should also be consequences for offensive statements. 

On Wednesday, Irving issued an apology on Twitter on November 2nd in a joint statement in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that promotes the stoppage of Jewish hate and defamation. In the statement, Irving states, “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” 

Even after making the apology, Irving could not give a straightforward answer on Thursday when asked by the media after a team practice if he had any antisemitic views. Irving told the media, “I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit…I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” thus avoiding giving a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. This led to the Nets officially suspending Kyrie Irving. 

The Anti-Defamation League posted an article on the film Irving shared, citing the many conspiracy theories and antisemitic and extremist beliefs harmful to the Jewish community. The article further goes into the analysis of the film, in which there were false claims that amplified antisemitic tropes about Jewish people. The film used statements from prominent antisemites and antisemitic texts to support the false claims, even to falsely attribute Adolf Hitler to a quote to back up its false claims on anti-semitism.

Brooklyn is now without Irving and former head coach Steve Nash, making everyone question where the direction of the Nets organization is heading. The Nets’ are 2-6, placing them 13th in the Eastern Conference after a 106-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. 

The Nets are looking to Ime Udoka, former head coach of the Boston Celtics, as the potential head coach of the Nets. Udoka is a controversial figure, as he was suspended in the summer after reportedly having an improper work relationship with female staff. The future of the Nets looks bleak, and with controversies piling all over each other, there’s no telling what is next for the Nets organization.