The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving (L) for at least five games on Thursday after the Nets guard posted a link to an anti-Semitic film and refused to condemn or acknowledge the hateful material in the film. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving said he is "deeply sorry" for hurting the Jewish community a week after he posted a link to an anti-Semitic film on Twitter and hours after he was suspended for at least five games.
Irving posted his apology Thursday night on Instagram. The Nets said earlier Thursday they were "dismayed" that Irving refused to "unequivocally say he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film."
The team suspended the All-Star, without pay.
Irving met with the media several times since he posted the link, which was deleted Sunday. He did not apologize or condemn the anti-Semetic content in the film in any of those media sessions.
"I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this," Irving wrote Thursday night on Instagram. "To all Jewish families and communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.
"I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary."
Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement Wednesday to address the situation. Irving said he opposed "all forms of hatred and oppression" in that statement. He also said he took "responsibility" for the Twitter post. That joint statement said Irving and the Nets each would donate $500,000 to the Anti-Defamation League.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called Irving's suspension "well deserved" and tweeted Thursday night that the ADL would "not accept" the Nets star's $500,000 donation.
"I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the documentary I agreed with and disagreed with," Irving wrote Thursday on Instagram.
"I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I am."
The Nets (2-6) will face the Washington Wizards (4-4) at 7 p.m. EDT Friday at Capital One Arena in Washington. Irving's suspension could keep him out of the Nets lineup until a Nov. 13 meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles.