LeBron James says Kyrie Irving ‘hurt a lot of people’


Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James says former teammate Kyrie Irving “did some damage to a lot of people.”

Irving missed the first of several games for the Brooklyn Nets on Friday when he was suspended for comments about a tweet linking him to an anti-Semitic documentary.

Speaking to reporters after the Lakers’ loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday, James said, “I think what Kyrie did hurt a lot of people. He’s since apologized recently — whether it was today or yesterday. But it hurt. caused some

“It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, how tall you are, what position you are in, if you promote or demand any community that harms people, I don’t respect it. I don’t accept it.”

The Nets suspended Irving on Thursday after initially doubling down on the decision to share the content on his Twitter account. The star apologized a few hours later on her verified Instagram account, where she said she took full responsibility for her actions.

“To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and harmed by my post, I am sorry for the pain I have caused, and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “At first I reacted emotionally to being unfairly labeled anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks made in the documentary.

“I had no intention of disrespecting the Jewish cultural history of the Holocaust or perpetuating any hatred. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope to find understanding with everyone,” Irving continued.

Criticism of Irving continued to mount on Friday after Nike severed its relationship with the NBA star.

“At Nike we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” Nike said in a statement to CNN. “To that end, we have made the decision to immediately terminate our relationship with Kyrie Irving and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and the impact it has on everyone.”

The company’s move comes after Irving last week defended its decision to share a link to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” The film, based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name, has been blasted by civil rights groups for its anti-Semitism.

Irving was asked by reporters earlier Thursday – before the apology was published – whether he held anti-Semitic beliefs or whether he regretted them. At the time, he responded by saying that he respects “all walks of life” and did not want to cause harm.

The Nets said afterward They were “dismayed” when the player “refused to say he had any anti-Semitic beliefs or acknowledge any specific hate material in the film” during a media session.

“The denial of anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply troubling, contrary to the values ​​of our organization, and conduct that is detrimental to the team,” the Nets said before Irving apologized.

The team said they made repeated attempts to help Irving “understand the harm and danger of his words and actions.”

Irving’s unpaid suspension meant he did not play in Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards. The suspension will last at least four more games, and Irving must also complete “a number of objective corrective measures that address the adverse impact of his conduct,” the Nets said.

When asked Friday if he was considering releasing Irving, Nets general manager Sean Marks said, “No. Not at this point.”

“Obviously, there will be some corrective steps and measures that have been put in place to seek some advice … to deal with some of the anti-hate and anti-Jewish leaders in our community,” Marks said while speaking to reporters in front of the Nets. – Wizards game.

“He’ll have to sit down with them, he’ll have to sit down with the organization after this, and we’ll evaluate it and see if it’s the right opportunity to bring him back,” Marks added.

Irving’s Nets teammate Kevin Durant called this week’s accounts “unnecessary” and believed the team could “shut up” about Irving’s comments.

“I’m not here to judge anyone or condemn anyone… I didn’t like what happened. I feel like it was all unnecessary,” Durant said of Irving’s team-issued suspension during the Nets’ pregame availability Friday. “I feel like we could just keep playing basketball and be quiet as an organization. I don’t like anything about it.”

Asked if the suspension was unfair, Durant said, “I believe and I trust the organization to do what’s right.”

Shortly after media availability, Durant he tweeted“I want to clarify the statements I made in Shoaround, I see that some people are confused.. I do not support hate speech or anti-Semitism, I am always talking about spreading love.”

“Our game brings people together and I want to make sure that’s at the forefront,” he added.

Irving’s remarks during Thursday’s media session with reporters have added to the controversy.

Asked if he was apologizing, he said: “I didn’t mean to cause any harm. I’m not the one who made the documentary.”

Asked if he was surprised by the backlash, Irving said, “I take full responsibility, I’ll repeat myself, for posting something on my Instagram or Twitter that may contain unfortunate falsehoods,” Irving replied.

Asked if he held any anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving replied: “I respect all walks of life. I cover all walks of life. I sit there.”

When pressed to answer yes or no to a question about whether he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving replied, “I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I come from.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Famation League, when asked how the NBA star responded to that question, noted that Irving has “a lot of work to do.”

“The answer to the question ‘do you have anti-Semitic beliefs’ is always an unequivocal ‘NO.’ We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility, but today he failed to follow through on that promise,” Greenblatt wrote.

After Irving’s suspension Thursday, the ADL declined to accept the previously announced $500,000 donation by Irving and the Nets. The ADL’s decision to reject the donation came before Irving issued an apology late Thursday.

The star’s comments also drew rebuke from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who said he was “disappointed” in Irving.

“Kyrie Irving made the bold decision to post a link to a movie that contained deeply offensive anti-Semitic material,” Silver said before Irving apologized.

The controversy comes as anti-Semitism has risen in the US in recent years. At least 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the US in 2021, up from 942 incidents in 2015, according to the ADL.

Irving has had controversy in recent years that has affected his playing time. Last season, Irving didn’t play in many of Brooklyn’s home games due to his Covid-19 vaccination, which prevented him from playing indoors due to New York’s workplace vaccination mandate. The rule was later lifted and it returned to the Barclays Center in March.