NEW YORK — American basketball star Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets said on Saturday that he embraces “all religions” after team owner Joe Tsai condemned his tweet linking to a film that Tsai called “full of anti-Semitic information.”
“I’m an OMNIST and I didn’t mean disrespect for anyone’s religious beliefs,” Irving said on Twitter.
“The ‘anti-Semitic’ label imposed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth in which I live. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
Tsai said in a Twitter post Friday that he was “disappointed” that Irving drew attention to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America.”
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to be supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation,” Tsai said. “I want to sit down and make sure he understands that this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith it is wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
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“This is bigger than basketball.”
In addition to Tsai’s Twitter post, the Nets issued a statement saying they “strongly condemn and do not tolerate the promotion of any form of hate speech.”
Irving has shared controversial opinions before.
He was largely sidelined last season for his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, calling COVID vaccine mandates “one of the greatest HUMAN RIGHTS violations in history.”
He once caused a flap by suggesting he believes the Earth is flat, and in October he was criticized by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for sharing a video of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
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