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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Kristian Winfield

Nets GM Sean Marks calls Kyrie Irving’s apology ‘a step in the right direction,’ but ‘not enough’

NEW YORK — Nets general manager Sean Marks said Kyrie Irving’s apology on Instagram for posting antisemitic material on his social media platform was “a step in the right direction,” but “not enough.”

Marks, who spoke to a group of reporters in Washington, D.C. ahead of the Nets’ three-game road trip, said he hopes there is a change both in Irving’s feelings and his attitude.

“Per his apology [Thursday] night, that is a step in the right direction,” Marks said. “Again, as we stated, actions speak louder than words. The apology is a step in the right direction. It’s not enough.

“There is going to be some remedial steps and measures that have been put in place for him to obviously seek some counseling ... from dealing with some anti-hate and some Jewish leaders within our community,” Marks said. “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 this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”

Irving, who faces a minimum five-game suspension and must satisfy “a series of remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct,” issued his first acceptable apology on Instagram after the suspension came down.

“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,” he wrote in the Instagram caption. “I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against (antisemitism) by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate.”

Marks said there wasn’t enough communication between Irving and Nets management during this process.

“There was some; I would say there wasn’t enough,” he said. “Circumstances like this when you’re dealing with an issue that is far greater than honestly the game of basketball, I think that’s what we need to keep in perspective here.

“We all play a game of basketball for a living, manage the game, coach the game and so forth. When you touch subjects like this and you don’t show remorse for them immediately, that’s when people start asking questions. That’s why we’re here doing this right now.”

The Nets had hoped their joint donation with Irving of $500,000 each toward organizations that fight against hate speech would help ease the pressure on the franchise that, up until Thursday, hadn’t forcefully condemned Irving’s actions. And then Irving stood in front of reporters again and did not show remorse for his actions, even saying “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

The Anti-Defamation League subsequently declined Irving’s half-a-million-dollar donation with its CEO Jonathan Greenblatt making a pointed statement at the star guard.

“After watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions,” Greenblatt wrote. “ADL cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”

Irving posted the Amazon link to “From Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” — a documentary that has been widely denounced for promoting antisemitic falsehoods — on both his social media feeds on Oct. 27.

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