After sharing an antisemitic movie and book on his social media account on Thursday, Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving received criticism.
The management of the Brooklyn Nets expressed their displeasure with the guard of their team’s behavior. In addition, the rapper and businessman Kanye West, also known by his legal name Ye, recently came under fire for remarks he made about Jews on national television. As a result, the rapper lost his relationships with well-known companies like Gap, Adidas, Skechers, and other international and local brands.
Joe Tsai, the Nets owner, criticized Irving’s behavior and assured the public that they would handle it appropriately. However, he said the action of the basketball star bore significant meaning. Irving has millions of Twitter followers, so any athlete’s promotion has a broad impact.
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion,” said Tsai on Twitter.
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Irving and the tweet
On Thursday, the basketball player’s followers saw a tweet from Kyrie that included a link to an Amazon page. The page displayed the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Rolling Stone made a review about the book and claimed it contained “antisemitic tropes.” It launched as a book in 2015 and a production adapted it as a movie in 2018.
“A description for the film states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel,” while a similar one for the book reads, “Since the European and Arab slave traders stepped foot into Africa, blacks have been told lies about their heritage.” Both suggest Hebrews to Negroes espouse ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially antisemitism,” wrote Rolling Stone.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech. However, we believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who have been supportive during this time,” said the Brooklyn Nets team.
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Meaning no disrespect
Irving stood his ground and insisted he bore no ill will toward anyone. Irving must still delete his initial tweet, though.
“The ‘Anti-Semitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in every day. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions,” he tweeted.
The basketball star received discipline from the Nets before. The team benched the point guard last season because he refused to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. It is currently unclear whether Irving’s recent infraction will impact his ability to play on the court.
Photo Credit: Sarah Stier