The commissioner of the NBA says he has "no doubt" that Kyrie Irving is not antisemitic after slamming the Brooklyn Nets star for sharing an antisemitic movie.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The New York Times he had a "direct and candid conversation" with Irving and does not believe him to be antisemitic. "He's someone I've known for a decade, and I've never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group," Silver said.
But Silver, in a follow-up conversation with the Times, clarified that "whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content."
Irving faced substantial backlash after promoting a documentary titled Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which contains antisemitic tropes. After first declining to apologize, Irving said he was "aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility."
But Silver previously said he was disappointed that Irving didn't offer "an unqualified apology and more specifically [denounce] the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize." Irving was subsequently suspended from the Brooklyn Nets for a least five games, with the team saying he's "currently unfit to be associated" with it.
Silver told the Times he believes that "we got to the right outcome here in terms of [Irving's] suspension," but he acknowledged that "we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that criticism." He also said the Brooklyn Nets will decide when Irving can return "in consultation with the league."