LOS ANGELES — After his first practice since becoming a Dallas Maverick, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving addressed the latest twist in his most controversial and inflammatory actions as a Brooklyn Net.
In a post-practice interview Tuesday in Los Angeles, Irving confirmed he deleted an Instagram post from November in which he apologized to Jewish families and communities for promoting a film filled with antisemitism and Holocaust conspiracy theories.
Irving originally posted the Instagram on Nov. 3, just after the Nets levied what became an eight-game suspension for sharing a link to the film on Twitter and failing to apologize and disavow antisemitic beliefs in subsequent news conferences.
“I delete a lot of things on my Instagram,” Irving said of his verified account that currently has 342 posts and 18.4 million followers. “I’ve had things that have happened before in my life — probably not as drastic as that moment, which led to a lot of confusion, uncertainty, I felt like, [about] what I meant and what I stand for. And I had to sit up at these mics and explain to the world who I am, and I know who I am. I delete things all the time, and it’s no disrespect to anyone within the community. Just living my life.”
When asked whether he stands by his apology to the Jewish community despite deleting the Instagram post, Irving said: “I stand by who I am and why I apologized, and I did it because I care about my family.”
“I have Jewish members of my family that care for me deeply,” Irving said. “Did the media know that beforehand when they called me that word, ‘antisemitic?’ No. Did they know anything about my family? No. Everything was assumed. Everything was put out before I had anything to say, and I reacted instead of responding emotionally and maturely.
‘I didn’t mean to be defensive about it or go at anybody, so I stand by my apology, and I stand by my people everywhere — all walks of life, all races, all religions. Same thing.”
Irving did not answer a question about whether the Jewish people in his family discussed their concerns when he shared the film and fueled controversy in subsequent interviews or whether they have since had discussions about the issue.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations about world history,” Irving said. “What was contained in there was contained in there. I didn’t agree with everything. I’ve been up here saying that, and I’m just going to leave it at that. My family’s my family. If the media cared about my family and actually — and I’m not saying all the media, don’t want to get at anybody — but if specific media members actually cared to do research instead of being the first to report things, then they would know where I come from.
“So the diversity of my family is beautiful, and I’m just going to continue and focus in on them, and when I’m on the court, try not to be distracted by y’all.”
During the fallout in Brooklyn earlier this season, the NBA announced Irving and the Nets planned to donate $500,000 to the Jewish civil rights Anti-Defamation League to fight antisemitism and “eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
A day later, the ADL refused to accept Irving’s donation after he refused to apologize for sharing the film and state that he does not hold antisemitic beliefs.
After the Mavericks acquired Irving this week, the ADL chapter in Dallas released a statement as one of the local Jewish organizations and fans who reacted to the trade.