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Kyrie Irving spoke to the media at-length about what he shared on social media over the weekend and a recent statement he and the Nets released.
Over the weekend, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving shared a link to an anti-Semitic movie directed by an author of a book with the same title. The link was presented without comment, but many took it as a co-sign of the movie.
Nets owner Joe Tsai condemned the sharing in a Tweet.
Irving was asked about it in his next media availability and got in a confrontation with ESPN reporter Nick Friedell over whether or not sharing the movie equated to “promoting” it.
Since, the NBA, Nets, and NBPA have been criticized for their soft reaction to the Tweet.
Yes, the Nets could suspend him if they wanted to do so.
Adam Silver released a statement today and Kyrie Irving, the Nets, and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement on Wednesday night along with a $500,000 donation from Irving which was matched by the Nets.
Irving, speaking for the first time since the statement, spoke to reporters. Here is everything he had to say.
Everything Kyrie Irving said about anti-Semitic criticisms
Asked if he felt surprised over the fact that his actions hurt people, Irving said:
“I think I would ask the better questions just where were you when I was a kid? Figuring out that 300 million of my ancestors are buried in America? Where were you guys asking those same questions when I was a kid dealing with learn about the traumatic events of my familial history, and what I’m proud to come from, and why I’m proud to stand here, and why when I repeat myself that I’m not going to stand down it has nothing to do with dismissing any other race or group of people. I’m just so proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through. And the fact that this has pinned me against the Jewish community, and I’m here answering questions of whether or not I’m sorry or not on something I didn’t create. And it was something I shared. And I’m telling everybody, I’m taking responsibility. And that’s where I sit.”
“So you know, the same questions that you guys ask me dealing with it as being a melanated pigmented person all around the world and dealing with racial biases against my skin color, demeaning me because of my religious beliefs. And I’m still sitting in the seat standing. So I take my full responsibility. Again, I’ll repeat it for posting something on my instagram or twitter that may have had some unfortunate falsehoods in it. But I also am a human being is 30 years old, and I’ve been growing up in a country that’s told me that I wasn’t worth anything and I came from a slave class. And I come from a people that are meant to be treated the way we get treated. Every day. So I’m not here to compare anyone’s atrocities, or tragic events that their families have dealt with generations of time. I’m just here to continue to expose things that our world continues to put in darkness. I’m a light. I’m a beacon of life. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Then he went on:
“You guys ask me questions about basketball. I give you my expert opinion. You guys asked me about other things. I give you my opinion. And it’s met with whatever you believe the perception or the decision is you guys investigate my life every day. And you justify it by serving your own purpose, which I honor I would like to same respect and return figuring out just like anyone else. So please keep that same energy when we’re talking about anti other things. Because just because I posted document doesn’t mean not anti semitic, and doesn’t mean that I’m automatically standing with everyone that is believing in that.”
He closed his answer with:
“So some unfortunate timing that we’re in, but I’m glad that I could stand on the truth because I’m not afraid of these mics. These cameras. I used to be looking everyone in the eye and telling the truth, but I’m proud of who I am.”
Kyrie went on to say this:
“Anything label that you put on me. I’m able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary you look it up right? One of the biggest mistakes I had, being a kid was not knowing European or Western language till I started looking it up and understanding the definitions and why they say if you want to trick a black person put on the books. Just wondering my whole life while they said that. Now I’m 30 years old and I know reading is a superpower because it helps me understand where I’m going and where I come from, like a tree with roots.”
The theme is exactly the same as the description of the book he shared on Amazon. Here is what the description of the book says on Amazon’s product listing page:
“There is an old stereotypical expression that says “If you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.””
Irving also paraphrased the book’s central thesis when he was asked if he was anti-Semitic:
REPORTER: Do you have any anti-Semitic beliefs?
KYRIE: Again, I’m gonna repeat. I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you guys ask me the same questions over and over again. But this is not gonna turn into a spin-around cycle of questions upon questions. I told you guys how I felt, I respect all walks of life and respect all walks of life, that’s where I sit.
OTHER REPORTER: I think what people want to hear though is a yes or no on that question. Yes or no?
KYIRE: “I can not be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from. I can not be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.
Irving never directly said “no” when asked if he was anti-Semitic or held anti-Semitic beliefs.