Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving recently came under fire after tweeting a link to an Amazon documentary ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’.
The film, based on a book of the same name, is “full of anti-Semitic tropes”, according to Rolling Stone. Facing the backlash, it led to a heated back-and-forth between Irving and Nick Friedell, ESPN reporter more to take the responsibility to share it on its platform.
Nets owner Joe Tsai released a statement on Oct. 28, saying he was “disappointed” with Irving’s apparent support for a “book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” followed by the NBA who issued a statementclaiming that “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and goes against the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect”.
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Despite Irving’s post condemnation, no disciplinary action was taken against the seven-time All-Star by the Nets or the league, a decision Charles Barkley said was wrong.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s game between the Nets and Bulls on TNT, Barkley said suspending Irving was the only option.
“I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver] should have suspended it,” Barkley said.
“First of all, Adam is Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion. If you’re going to insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say ‘no, you don’t. you’re not gonna take my 40 million dollars and insult my religion.
“I think he should have been suspended.”
Chuck reacts to Kyrie Irving’s social media posts promoting anti-Semitic film pic.twitter.com/IOLVVrSv0l
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 1, 2022
“I think the NBA made a mistake. We suspended people and fined people who used homophobic slurs – and that was the right thing to do. I think if you insult the black community, you should be suspended or heavily fined whichever I saw they did the same thing to the Minnesota kid this year [Anthony Edwards] when he made the gay insult. I think you should be suspended or fined.
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On Monday night, after Irving’s first game since he shared the tweet, a group of fans sat courtside wearing shirts that read “Fight Antisemitism.”
Irving did not speak to the media after the game and will not be available after tonight’s game against the Bulls, a Nets decision General Manager Sean Marks said was in the interest of avoiding any further fuss.
Court side at the Nets game
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On Saturday, Irving addressed the message during his press conference following their loss to the Pacers, defending his decision to share the link.
“I’m not here to discuss any person, culture, religion or what they believe,” Irving said. “No, that’s what’s here. It’s on a public platform. Did I do something illegal? Did I hurt anyone? Did I hurt anyone? Do I go out and say I hate a particular group of people?
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“So of all the judgment that people have had for me posting, not speaking to me, and then I respect what Joe said, but it has a lot to do with ego or pride in my pride in be [of] African heritage, but also living as a free black man here in America, knowing the historical complexities for me to get here.
“So I’m not going to give up everything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”