Mon. May 29th, 2023

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Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver Tuesday morning, where the two reportedly had a “productive and understanding visit,” per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Irving is currently serving a minimum five-game suspension without pay by the Nets for sharing an antisemitic film on social media, and for failing to condemn antisemitism and apologizing for sharing the film when given multiple opportunities to do so. Irving has since issued an apology on his Instagram for sharing the film after he was suspended. 

The details of the meeting with Silver are unclear, but Charania reports that the visit now allows Irving to begin going through the necessary steps the Nets laid out in order for him to rejoin the team. Brooklyn gave Irving a list of six requirements he would need to fulfill before rejoining the team, which are:

  • Apologize and condemn the film he promoted
  • Make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes
  • Complete sensitivity training
  • Complete anti-semetism training
  • Meet with the ADL and Jewish leaders
  • Meet with team owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate an understanding of the situation

While the Nets are requiring Irving to complete these steps, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, who is a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, says that the union has issues with the requirements outlined for Kyrie Irving’s reinstatement.

“I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic,” Brown said via the Boston Globe. “I don’t think people in our governing bodies think he’s antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature. It’s sensitivity to the dialect around that. We don’t want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully the NBA feels the same way.

“There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it,” Brown said. “Some people will argue there’s no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There’s no language in our CBA. There’s no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody, and everybody is trying to figure out the difference between the two.”

It’s unclear if Brown’s comments represent the NBPA as a whole, but as of right now it appears as though the Nets are expecting Irving to complete those steps before returning to play. Irving has already sat out three of the minimum five-game suspension the Nets originally announced, but he could miss more than just those five games given the lengthy list of requirements.  

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