NBA: Nets’ Kyrie Irving says ‘anti-Semitic’ label ‘not justified’
NEW YORK – Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving said Saturday he embraces “all religions” after team owner Joe Tsai condemned his tweet linking to a film Tsai called “full of anti-Semitic information.”
“I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs,” Irving said on Twitter.
“The ‘antisemitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
Tsai said in a Twitter post on Friday he was “disappointed” that Irving drew attention to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America”.
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” Tsai said. “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.”
“This is bigger than basketball.”
In addition to Tsai’s Twitter post, the Nets issued a statement saying they “strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech.”
Irving has shared controversial opinions before.
He was sidelined much of last season because of his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, calling Covid vaccine mandates “one of the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history”.
He once caused a flap by suggesting he believes the Earth is flat, and in October he was criticized by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for sharing a video from far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.