Kyrie Irving to return after apologizing ‘deeply’ for sharing antisemitic film

Kyrie Irving is slated to make his on-court return on Sunday after he apologized “deeply” for his tweet late last month sharing an antisemitic film.

Irving was suspended on Nov. 3. He had previously said in a statement that he took responsibility for the tweet, but offered a full-throated apology in an interview with SportsNet New York (SNY).

“I just really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community, I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions for the time that it’s been since the post was first put up,” Irving said in the interview published Sunday

He added that he had “very moving, very impactful” conversations with several Jewish community leaders, finally figuring out why his initial post had a negative effect on people.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think, but my focus initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters,” Irving added.

Irving also told SNY’s Ian Begley that he is not antisemitic, adding the ordeal has been hard for his family as well.

In a now-deleted post, Irving tweeted a link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a 2018 film based on a 2015 book of the same name, which contains a number of antisemitic tropes.

Irving has come under criticism from Nets owner Joe Tsai, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and basketball legends Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, along with Jewish advocacy groups.

Nike also suspended its relationship with the seven-time all star and canceled the release of his ninth signature shoe with the company, saying in a statement that the company has no place for “hate speech” and “antisemitism.”

“The part that hasn’t been hard is explaining myself because I know who I am, I know what I represent. But I think the difficult aspect is just processing all this, understanding the power of my voice, the influence I have,” Irving told Begley.

“I am no one’s idol, but I am a human being that wants to make impact and change. In order to do that I have to live responsibly and set a greater example for our youth. For my generation and the older generation.”

In a statement to ESPN on Sunday, the Nets said that Kyrie has taken “ownership” of his actions. “We are pleased that he is going about the process in a meaningful way,” the team said.

Irving also serves as a vice president of the NBA’s players union, which said in a statement Sunday it was “looking forward to Kyrie’s return to the court this evening.”

The Nets are set to face the Memphis Grizzlies in New York City at 7 p.m.

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