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Brooklyn Nets suspend Kyrie Irving without pay after antisemitism controversy

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving injured his ankle during the second quarter of the Nets' Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in June 2021 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving injured his ankle during the second quarter of the Nets' Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in June 2021 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The Brooklyn Nets announced Thursday that Kyrie Irving would be suspended for at least five games after he chose not to apologize for posting a link to a film that has been viewed as antisemitic.

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

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The Brooklyn Nets said in a statement Thursday that Irving would be suspended without pay for at least five games "until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct."

"Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate," the team said.

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"We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance."

The Nets added that the team was "dismayed" when Irving was provided the opportunity to "unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs" but refused to do so at a media session earlier Thursday.

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Earlier in the day, Irving had released a joint statement with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League in which he said he took "responsibility" for the post's "negative impact."

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"This was not the first time he had the opportunity, but failed, to clarify," the Brooklyn Nets said in the statement.

"Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets."

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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His suspension came as the FBI and NYPD said Thursday that they are investigating "credible" threats to synagogues in New Jersey.

It also comes after rapper Kanye West has made headlines for antisemitic remarks in recent weeks.

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