JOINT STATEMENT FROM KYRIE IRVING, THE BROOKLYN NETS, AND THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE
The events of the past week have sparked many emotions within the Nets organization, our Brooklyn community, and the nation. The public discourse that followed has brought greater awareness to the challenges we face as a society when it comes to combating hate and hate speech. We are ready to take on this challenge and we recognize that this is a unique moment to make a lasting impact.
To promote education within our community, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets will each donate $500,000 toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities. The Nets and Kyrie Irving will work with ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting antisemitism and all types of hate that undermine justice and fair treatment for every individual. This is an effort to develop educational programming that is inclusive and will comprehensively combat all forms of antisemitism and bigotry.
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” said Kyrie Irving. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles. I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen. So from my family and I, we meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people, and wish to only be a beacon of truth and light.”
“There is no room for antisemitism, racism, false narratives or misguided attempts to create animosity and hate,” said Sam Zussman, Chief Executive Officer of BSE Global, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. “Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need to ensure education in these areas. We are putting our prior statements into practice because actions speak louder than words.”
“At a time when antisemitism has reached historic levels, we know the best way to fight the oldest hatred is to both confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds. With this partnership, ADL will work with the Nets and Kyrie to open dialogue and increase understanding,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “At the same time, we will maintain our vigilance and call out the use of anti-Jewish stereotypes and tropes – whatever, whoever, or wherever the source – as we work towards a world without hate.”
As in past years, the Brooklyn Nets will continue to support and participate in Shine A Light, an ongoing initiative dedicated to spotlighting modern day antisemitism.
Additionally, to ensure a sustainable and meaningful impact in driving awareness and education on the important topics of hatred based on race, ethnicity, and religion, the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and the teams’ affiliated organizations will host a series of community conversations at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, in partnership with ADL and other national civil rights organizations as well as local community associations.
InsideHoops.com Reaction: Nice big step here from multiple parties. Collectively, a positive effort. And the large financial donations, assuming they go to organizations that do fight antisemitism, are very generous and an impressive gesture. One issue: What Kyrie said above isn’t really an actual apology. Taking responsibility for doing something just means “yeah, I did that.” Doesn’t mean you’re sorry for doing it. I ordered a pizza earlier, and guess what? I take responsibility for ordering that pizza. As for specifics about the film’s rabid, hardcore antisemitism (it promoted Holocaust denial, presented Adolf Hitler as a source worth listening to, and other disgusting things), Kyrie seems intentionally vague. Hitler hated Black people. Yet Kyrie watched a film that plugged Hitler, and his “free thinker” brain kept rolling with it? No alarm in his head went off? And despite a long-term history of making questionable decisions (Earth is round, Kyrie), he is still, as of tonight, a vice president in the NBA Players Union.