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Nets GM Marks says Irving ban 'best course of action'

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said the ban of Kyrie Irving for at least five games in the wake of an anti-semitic controversy was the "best course of action" by the NBA club. ©AFP

New York (AFP) - Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said Friday the suspension of NBA star Kyrie Irving for at least five games over an anti-semitic controversy was the "best course of action."

Irving was issued the punishment by the Nets on Thursday after refusing to apologize for the firestorm caused by his social media link to a film rebuked for a wide range of anti-semitic tropes.

Irving later issued an apology on social media but Marks indicated that is only the start of the actions required of Irving before he will be reinstated by the Nets.

"He refused to disavow that until his tweet last night," Marks said."I think this was the best course of action.As it stands now, he's just suspended."

After an uproar over his link to the 2018 movie "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America", Irving accepted responsiility for his actions and made a donation to anti-hate programs.

But NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he was disappointed at no apology and no rebuke of anti-semitism from Irving, saying they would meet within a week on the matter.

Irving then avoided an apology in media comments, prompting the Nets to issue the minimum five-game ban with Irving apologizing later, the start of his path back to the court.

"There are going to be some remedial steps and measures that are going to be put in place for him," Marks said.

"To obviously seek some counseling, designated by the team, from dealing with some anti-hate and Jewish leaders within our community.

"He's going to have to sit down with them, he's going to have to sit down with the organization after this and we'll evaluate and see if it's the right opportunity to bring him back."

Marks, the NBA's first player from New Zealand who was named the Nets' general manager in 2016, said he hopes to see change in Irving.

"I think after anything like this, you would always hope there's a change, a change in feelings, a change in attitude," Marks said.

Nets star forward Kevin Durant said he trusted the organization to make the correct decision in the matter.

"I ain't here to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their view or anything," Durant said."I just didn't like anything that went on.

"I feel like it was all unnecessary.I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organization.I just don't like none of it."

Durant later tweeted a clarification to his comments making it clear his remarks should not be seen as condoning hate speech.

"Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused," Durant tweeted.

"I don't condone hate speech or anti-semetism, I'm about spreading love always.Our game Unites people and I wanna make sure that's at the forefront."

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