NBA commissioner says Kyrie Irving is not antisemitic after 'direct and candid' talk

Kyrie Irving
(Image credit: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

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."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

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."

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us