Team owner defends controversial NBA star – RT Sport News

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai doesn’t think Kyrie Irving holds anti-Semitic beliefs

The Brooklyn Nets NBA franchise owner is the latest figure to conclude controversial basketball player Kyrie Irving is not anti-Semitic after meeting the 30-year-old.

Joe Tsai first sentenced his custody when Irving was engulfed in an anti-Semitism scandal for tweeting a link to a movie said to contain anti-Semitic tropes.

The Nets banned Irving a minimum of five games for refusing “to state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic convictions”, which Nike co-founder Phil Knight cited as the reason for the sportswear giant’s suspension of its relationship with the former NBA champion.

In recent days, however, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, said he does not believe Irving is anti-Semitic. On Friday, Silver was joined by Tsai, who made similar remarks online.

“Clara and I met Kyrie and her family yesterday,” Tsai said, mentioning his wife.

“We’ve spent some quality time understanding each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie has no belief in hating Jewish people or any other group.”

“The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education,” Tsai added.

The Nets said Irving would only return after undergoing “correction” and completing six requirements.

Irving has already met some of them, like apologizing for his act, condemning the film and pledging to donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes.

Former teammate LeBron James has asked Irving to be allowed to return to the court, and the National Basketball Players Association told members in an email Friday that it expects the situation to be resolved soon.

“We believe the careful pause and reflection has started to pay off,” the union said in the email, seen by The Associated Press.

“We have maintained from the outset, and will continue to reiterate at every opportunity, that Kyrie and the Players Association unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate.”

“We continue to ensure that Kyrie’s rights, and the rights of all future players, have been protected at every turn, and look forward to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties very soon,” he added, as reported by ESPN.

Irving is in the final year of his contract with the Nets, which expires at the end of the 2022/2023 NBA season.


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