Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai posted on Twitter Friday that star player Kyrie Irving, now serving a minimum five-game suspension for posting a link to a documentary several groups labeled "antisemitic," does not have "any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people."
"[My wife and Nets co-owner] Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday," Tsai said in his Twitter post Friday. "We spent quality time to understand each other and it's clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.
"The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education."
Irving has been suspended from the team since Nov. 3 for posting a link on his Instagram account to the 2018 film "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," which several groups called "antisemitic" for being "driven by antisemitic tropes about Jewish people lying about their origins" and its false claims that the Holocaust never happened, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The NBA star immediately faced backlash including athletic apparel maker Nike cutting ties with Irving.
According to The Times, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview that it doesn't matter if Irving is antisemitic or not, that the hurt his post caused is the issue.
"Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content," Silver told the news outlet.
Los Angeles Lakers star player Lebron James said that while he doesn't believe in sharing hurtful posts on social media, he believes Irving has learned a lesson. James pointed out that Irving apologized for the post.
"I told you guys that I don't believe in sharing hurtful information," James said in his tweet Thursday. "And I'll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That's what I think. It's that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he's asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO [in my opinion]. He's not the person that’s being portrayed of him."
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement about the film Nov. 3.
"While much of the film deals with historical and genetic arguments about various racial and ethnic groups, it also includes extensive antisemitism," the statement said, "including claims of a global Jewish conspiracy to oppress and defraud Black people, allegations that Jews are in part responsible for the transatlantic slave trade and the claim that Jews falsified the history of the Holocaust in order to 'conceal their nature and protect their status and power.'"
The International Movie Database describes the film thusly: "Based on Ronald Dalton's book series of the same name, the film aims to prove the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) belief that certain people of color, including Black Americans, are the true descendants of the biblical Israelites."
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