Controversial Dallas-bound NBA star Kyrie Irving has explained why he deleted an apology he belatedly posted on social media in November after the Brooklyn Nets suspended him for sharing antisemitic material online.
“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,” he wrote in the since-removed Instagram post.
“While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the post was gone. It’s unclear when it was removed but in his first press conference with the Mavericks on Tuesday, he confirmed he deleted it and explained why.
“Yeah, I delete a lot of things on my Instagram,” he said.
“I’ve had things that have happened before in my life, probably not as drastic as that moment, which led to a lot of confusion and uncertainty I felt like in what I meant and what I stand for.
“I had to just sit up at these mics and explain to the world who I am, and I know who I am.
“So I delete things all the time, and it’s no disrespect to anyone within the community. Just living my life.”
The Brooklyn Nets this week agreed to trade Irving, a 30-year-old eight-time All Star point guard, to the Dallas Mavericks.
In recent days, Irving has shared other clips on social media espousing far-right or anti-vaccine views. One featured Canadian clinical psychologist and “men’s rights” activist Jordan Peterson, while another spotlighted former NBA player and vocal anti-vaxxer John Stockton. In a third, Irving posted a clip of sportswriter-turned-conservative pundit Jason Whitlock, who has said “baby-mama culture” and single Black women are responsible for the Memphis Police beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, which led to his death.
Asked if he stood by his apology, he said: “I stand by who I am and why I apologized. I did it because I care about my family. And I have Jewish members of my family that care for me deeply,” he said, before blaming the media for his actions instead of his own words.
“Did the media know that beforehand when they called me that word antisemitic? No. Did they know anything about my family? No. Everything was assumed, everything was put out before I had anything to say. And I reacted instead of responding emotionally and truly. I didn’t need to be defensive or go at anybody. So I stand by my apology and I stand by my people everywhere. All walks of life. All races, all religions.”
He said he had “a lot of conversations about world history,” claiming “diversity in my family is beautiful.”
Irving was suspended for five games last fall after digging in his heels in refusing to apologize for tweeting a link to the 2018 propaganda film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. He claimed in a press conference, “I respect all walks of life. I embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit.”
Even in his apology post, he said he was “being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic” and suggested it would have been OK to post a link to the film with “context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.”
The Nets said team officials had repeatedly tried to get through to Irving and help him understand how and why his stance was hurtful. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also slammed Irving, calling the material he shared “vile and harmful.”
In an apparent attempt to make amends, Irving announced that he would be donating $500,000 to organizations fighting “hate and intolerance.” At least one of the groups, the Anti-Defamation League, said it would refuse any monies from Irving as a matter of principle.
Irving was also suspended last season after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as required by the league. He missed 35 home games before incoming New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, rescinded the vaccine mandate instituted by predecessor Bill de Blasio.