Nets general manager Sean Marks said the franchise never considered releasing Kyrie Irving during the events of the last week that stemmed from the guard’s recent promotion of an antisemitic book and film on social media.
Speaking to reporters Friday morning, hours after Irving apologized for his actions for the first time, Marks called the apology “a step” in making amends, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. He explained that the organization wants Irving to take additional steps, which includes meeting with Jewish leaders, before playing again for Brooklyn.
The Nets announced Thursday that Irving, 30, has been suspended for at least the next five games until he has satisfied “a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.” The 11-year veteran has faced widespread backlash over the past week after sharing a link to the documentary, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America in a since-deleted tweet last Friday.
In the statement announcing the suspension, the Nets cited Irving’s media session Thursday afternoon as one of the catalysts for the punishment. During the meeting, he again declined to apologize for promoting the antisemitic film, telling reporters, in part, “I didn’t mean to cause any harm, I’m not the one that made the documentary.”
Irving finally reversed course in the hours after his suspension was handed down, apologizing to the Jewish community in an Instagram post late Thursday night.
“While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly [sic] for my actions,” Irving wrote. “I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this. To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. … I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate.”
Irving is slated to miss Brooklyn’s next five games, setting him up for a potential return to the court Nov. 13 in a nationally televised game against the Lakers. However, if he does not meet the standards set out for him by the Nets, he may be absent from the team for longer.