The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games after he promoted an antisemitic documentary on his social media account.
Irving’s initial refusal to apologize for his actions complicated matters further.
In the end, he ended up losing a lot of money and time on the basketball but court, but eventually decided to admit he was wrong.
And that is precisely what he did this week.
In a conversation with Ian Begley of SNY, Irving explained his initial decision not to apologize for the antisemitism row.
“I felt like I was protecting my character, and I reacted out of pure defense,” he said.
“I was just hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought that I was being labeled, as anti-semitic or anti-Jewish. And I felt like that was just so disrespectful to ask me whether or not I was anti-semitic or not.
“Now, to the outside world it may have been seen as a simple yes or no – which rightfully so, it should have been ‘No, I’m not anti-semitic,” he continued
“No, I’m not anti-Jewish. I am a person that believes that we all should have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love, and that should be at the forefront.’ But it wasn’t in that initial conversation, and I take my accountability, and I want to apologize for that because it came off the wrong way, completely.”
This wasn’t the first time Irving has spoken out about his missteps in recent days.
That coupled with NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments about Irving and ‘Coach K’ Mike Krzyzewski offering his take makes it feel like a concerted effort to clean up the Nets star’s image is occurring.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 20, 2022
Will it ultimately be successful? Probably.
Or at least it will be until Irving says or does something else that offends large swarths of the basketball-loving population.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.