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NBA denounces hate speech amid Kyrie Irving 'antisemitism' controversy

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving walks back onto the court in the final minutes against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of their NBA game at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, in February. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving walks back onto the court in the final minutes against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of their NBA game at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, in February. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The NBA released a statement Saturday denouncing hate speech after Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets appeared to promote a film that has been described as antisemitic.

Irving had shared a tweet Thursday with a link to the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which some have said is antisemitic.

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"Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and runs counter to the NBA's values of equality, inclusion and respect," the NBA statement reads. The NBA did not mention Irving by name.

"We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring such words or ideas, including antisemitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue working with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact of their words and actions."

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Irving, however, appeared to defend his posting of the link - which has not yet been removed from his Twitter account.

"I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs. The 'Anti-Semitic' 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," Irving said in a tweet Saturday.

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In an article, Rolling Stone noted that the film Irving pointed to shows "ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites" which generally believes that Black people are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites and that European Jews control society.

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The controversy comes after rapper Kanye West was locked out of his Twitter and Instagram, and subsequently agreed to purchase the social media company Parler, over his own antisemitic remarks.

West, 45, had said he was "going death con 3 [sic] On JEWISH PEOPLE" earlier this month after he wore his controversial "White Lives Matter" shirt at Paris Fashion Week.

In the since-deleted messages with rapper Sean Combs, West said he would use Diddy as "an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me."

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West, in a now-deleted tweet, also said after the restriction he "can't be anti-Semitic" because "Black people are actually Jew also."

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