In SNY interview, Kyrie Irving apologizes for the hurt he caused the Jewish community

In an exclusive interview with SNY’s Ian Begley on Saturday afternoon, Kyrie Irving said he wanted to “deeply apologize” for any harm caused by the posting of an anti-Semitic video last month. The promotion resulted in a suspension that kept him off the field for eight games.

Irving is listed as “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies at Barclays Center.

The breadth and depth of his apology would appear to satisfy many of the Nets’ key demands for him to return to the game. Irving had previously apologized, but only on social media.

Here is the full video.

“I really want to focus on the harm I’ve caused or the impact I’ve had within the Jewish community. Putting some type of threat, or perceived threat, on the Jewish community,” said Irving to SNY “I just want to deeply apologize for all of my actions throughout the time that has passed since the post was first posted. I have had plenty of time to reflect. But my goal, initially, if I could start over, would be to heal and repair much of my close relationship with my Jewish parents, brothers and sisters.

It wasn’t just the video that caused the Nets to suspend him for a minimum of five games. It is also his inability to apologize at two press conferences in the days that followed. In suspending him, the Nets cited Irving’s failure to “say unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs.” The team called the failure “disturbing” and declared Irving “unfit” to be associated with the club. Shortly after, Nike, who had a decade-long relationship, announced that they had severed ties with him and were removing his latest signature shoe, the Kyrie 8, from its catalog.

Irving explained to Begley his rationale at the time. He said he reacted emotionally to being called an anti-Semite. He noted his upbringing in West Orange, NJ, which he described as “a melting pot for many different religious backgrounds, races, and cultures”.

“I felt like I was protecting my character and I reacted out of pure defense and I was just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought I was labeled as anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, and I felt like it was just so disrespectful to ask me if I was anti-Semitic or not,” he told SNY.

“Now, to the outside world, that may have been seen as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Which, appropriately, should have been “No, I’m not anti-Semitic.” No, I am not anti-Jewish. I am a person who believes that we should all have equal opportunities and that we should all shower ourselves with love, and that should be front and center.

“But it wasn’t in that initial conversation, and I take my responsibility and want to apologize for that, because it went completely wrong. What I really wanted to say was, ‘How can I be an anti-Semite if I know where I’m from?’ This statement itself was simply referring to my childhood and all the relatives and friends I have made and will continue to know on a deeper level. They are Jews – some of them are Jews, some of them are not. I felt like it didn’t matter, and because I felt like it didn’t matter at the time, it went wrong.

Irving also told Begley about his meetings, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday and Nets co-owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, another requirement of his return.

“It was a lot of wounds to heal, a lot of conversations to have. And a lot of thinking,” Irving said.

Above all, Irving condemned anti-Semitic themes in the video he promoted. He again qualified his decision to post the video as part of his normal research.

“I wanted to share the link with all those who were also on the same journey and in search of their heritage as me. The unfortunate aspect of this three-hour documentary is the anti-Semitic remarks in terms of the generalization of the Jewish people. I think that was unfair. It was not the aspect of the message that I wanted to emphasize,” Irving said.

In his accompanying report on the interview, Begly spoke about a theme that Irving returned to many times, how he wants to play a role in bridge communities.

“The reality is that our actions as human beings and my actions are going to have to speak louder (than words) because there is a level of hurt and pain that many communities feel to go unrecognized, for many of their history and a lot of their cultural accomplishments and accomplishments,” he told Begley. “Because of that, there’s a pride that they feel, that I feel, that it should be portrayed in the right way. way and that there shouldn’t be any fear or thinking or second thoughts with it. It’s just standing up for the good stuff. Make sure you stand with everyone else, but specifically in this case, it’s the Jewish community that we recognize.

Irving also said he needed to talk to his young fans.

“It was probably the most painful experience of all of this,” he said. “….Particularly when they look to me for peace and love and to see me in that kind of light, portrayed as someone who goes against another community or goes against some people or assume or turn off that I have hate in my heart. It just wasn’t easy to see or handle.

James C. Tibbs