March 23, 2023

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Nets say Kyrie Irving's apology isn't enough, and Nike suspends ties

Nets say Kyrie Irving’s apology isn’t enough, and Nike suspends ties

General Manager Sean Marks said Friday that goalkeeper Keri Irving, who has been suspended indefinitely due to fallout from his social media posts promoting an anti-Semitic film, will have to meet with Jewish leaders and the team before he can return to play.

The comments came a day after the team announced it Irving has been suspended without pay for at least five games Because he “refused to say unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor does he recognize specific hate materials” in the film he released last week.

“There will be some remedial steps and measures put in place for him and he is clearly seeking some advice that the team has outlined,” Marks said, adding, “We will evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”

Nike, which has produced the popular Irving shoe since 2014, announced that it has suspended its relationship with him “effective immediately” and will not release the next version of his shoes, the Kerry 8.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech, and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement, adding: “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

last week, Irving posted a link on Twitter to an antisemitic movie And he posted a screenshot of the movie’s online rental page on Instagram. As fans, team leaders and even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called on Irving to apologize, Irving resisted even after his suspension on Thursday.

“I think we started this by trying to work through an educational piece for this and educate all parties involved,” Marks said. “Obviously, that didn’t work.”

Hours after the team announced its suspension, Sorry Irving In a late-night Instagram post, he says, “To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain, and I apologize.”

Marks addressed reporters at a Friday morning shootout before a game against the Washington Wizards during a tumultuous week. Networks One of the worst teams in the NBAwith a record of 3-6, illusion They fired their coach, Steve NashTuesday.

Marks said Irving’s apology was a “step in the right direction” but that it was “certainly not enough. “

He added that he had not spoken to Irving since he apologized and that the Nets had not considered releasing him. As for whether Irving has shown any willingness to fulfill the team’s mandate for his comeback, Marks said, “I think we’ll give him some time, it’s up to him.”

He continued, “His actions are stronger than words. And if he wants to participate in that, we will see where everything goes.”

Nets player of the year striker Kevin Durant addressed reporters on Friday but did not criticize Irving. Durant and Irving, who are friends, joined the Nets in 2019.

“I’m not here to judge anyone or talk lightly about life or how they feel or their opinions or anything,” Durant said. “I didn’t like anything that happened. I felt like all of it was superfluous. I felt we could have continued to play basketball and remain silent as an organization. I just don’t like any of it.”

When asked if he thought Irving’s comment was unfair, Durant said, “I believe and trust the organization to do what is right.”

“I just want to clarify the statements I made when shooting nearby, I see some people confused,” Durant said. “I do not condone hate speech or anti-Semitism, I am always spreading love. Our game unites people and I want to make sure that is up front.”

The backlash against 30-year-old Irving began last week, when he posted a link on Twitter to the 2018 movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which promotes numerous anti-Semitic metaphors. On Saturday, after the loss to the Indiana Pacers, Irving reiterated his support for the film and for an anti-government conspiracy theory. Promoted by Infowars host Alex Jones.

Nets owner Joe Tsai and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, were among those who Irving criticized for this post. Silver, the commissioner, called Irving’s position “reckless” and said he would meet with Irving soon. But even after Irving announced with the Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday that he would Donate $500,000 to anti-hate causesHe spoke to reporters and refused to apologize. He admitted that there were some things in the film that he did not agree with, although he did not specify what they were.

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“Some criticism of the Jewish faith and society, for sure,” Irving said Thursday. “Some of the points that appeared there were unfortunate.”

It was in the afternoon. Over the next 12 hours, the Nets suspended him, saying he was “unfit to be associated” with the team, and Greenblatt said the ADL could not “in good conscience” accept his donation. (The donation announcement did not say that Irving’s money, or an equivalent amount from the Nets, would go to an ADL A Nets spokesperson and later said that the team and ADL would work together to locate the donations.)

Representative Yvette Clark, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn, He said in a post on Twitter That Irving’s comment was “long overdue” and that anti-Semitism “has no place in Brooklyn or anywhere else.”

In response to Irving’s apology, Greenblatt Friday morning tweet: “Actions speak louder than words. Because of its publication and previous refusal to undo it, the #antisemitic movie/book is now a bestseller in multiple categories on @amazon. There is a lot to do to undo this damage.”

On Friday afternoon, the film ranked first among documentaries on Amazon, and a supplement book of the same name was number one in the Christian Education category.

In his apology, Irving said he “reacted at first out of emotion for being an unjust anti-Semite, rather than focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Some fans said They no longer support the net because of Irving, although others have mixed feelings. And Nike’s decision to cut ties with him could have a ripple effect in basketball: Irving shoes are popular with players in college, the NBA, and the WNBA. So Bird, who retired from Seattle Storm in September, plays in custom versions of Irving sneakers that say “Keep It Fresh.” Several players at Duke University, which Irving attended, wore his shoes.

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Most NBA players have agreements with shoe companies You save them money and shoes, but few have the signature sneakers bearing their name – only 20 to 30 per season. Nike, for example, makes lines of shoes named after Durant, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Giannis Antetokonmo of Milwaukee, among others. Contracts between players and Nike usually remain private, however, based on known details of other shoe deals, it is likely that Nike will pay Irving several million dollars annually.

It was Nike who The official supplier of NBA uniforms and apparel Since the 2017-18 season.

The drama surrounding Irving’s participation and now absence has added to the problems of a faltering Nets side, which entered the season less than three weeks ago with their championship ambitions. On Friday, Durant spoke about the role the media played in Irving’s situation.

“That’s the way the NBA is right now,” Durant said. “There are a lot of outlets now, and their stories are hitting really fast now. Hence all the chaos – everyone’s opinions. Everyone has an opinion on the situation, and we hear it nonstop.

“But once the ball starts bouncing and we start training, none of that stuff really leaks into the gym. So that’s the great part about being in the league.”

Irving will be out at least until November 13, when the Nets are in Los Angeles to face the Lakers. This will put much of the team’s offensive burden on the 34-year-old Durant. Ben Simmons, who began guarding alongside Irving, injured During the last two games he is expected to miss at least two more games with soreness in his left knee.

The Nets also did not announce the appointment of a permanent coach to replace Nash. Assistant coach Jack Vaughn has been filling the spot since Nash was fired on Tuesday.

Tania Ganguly Contributed to reporting from New York, and Kevin Draper From New Orleans.