NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving rejoined the Brooklyn Nets Sunday and apologized to anyone who felt threatened or hurt by a social media post by the player that led to an anti-Semitic documentary.
Irving was suspended by the team on Nov. 3, hours after he refused to state emphatically that he had no anti-Semitic beliefs during a meeting with the media at the Nets’ practice facility.
Back at the same facility for morning target practice, Irving acknowledged that he should have conducted himself differently during those interviews.
“I don’t support anything that resembles bigoted or anti-Semitic speech, or anything that goes against humanity,” Irving stressed. “I feel like we all should have a chance to speak for ourselves when someone makes assumptions about us, and I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take responsibility for my actions.
“There is a way I should have handled all of this. In retrospect, reflecting on when I had the opportunity to offer my sincerest apologies to everyone who felt threatened or hurt by what I posted, I do so now and say that was not my intention at all.”
Irving has missed eight games during the suspension. The Nets had announced that the punishment would be a minimum of five games without pay.
Coach Jacque Vaughn indicated that Irving will start Sunday against Memphis. It will be the first game the point guard has played since the November 1 loss to Chicago, the day Vaughn replaced Steve Nash.
Irving said he was initially seeking more information about his heritage when he tweeted a link to the documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.”
In the face of the first questions on the subject, he was defiant and stated that he had the right to publish material that interested him.
A few days later, in another interview, he refused to apologize or clarify his beliefs, which led to his suspension.
“I got defensive, understandably, at the assumption that I might be anti-Semitic or that I meant something by posting a documentary that apparently sided with the views expressed there,” Irving said. “How can you call someone an anti-Semite if you don’t know him?”
Nike suspended its relationship with the player and the situation appeared to further complicate the relationship between Irving and the Nets, who refused to extend his contract this summer after he missed almost every home game this season after refusing to get a COVID vaccine. -19, as mandated by the New York City government.
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Irving rejoins the Nets and apologizes