Irving says he embraces all religions, defends right to post on Twitter

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving said on Saturday he embraced all religions and defiantly defended his right to post what he believes after the Brooklyn Nets owner said he was disappointed that Irving appeared to be supporting an anti-Semitic film.

“We are living in 2022. History should not be hidden from anyone and I am not divisive when it comes to religion,” Irving said during a tense press conference after the game. “I embrace all walks of life.”

Nets owner Joe Tsai said Friday he was disappointed that Irving appeared to be supporting a film “based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation”. The Observatory for the Nets posted a link for the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” ​​on Twitter on Thursday. The synopsis on Amazon said the film “reveals the true identity of the children of Israel.”

“The organization has spoken to Kyrie about it,” said Nets coach Steve Nash before their loss to Indiana, without revealing details about what that meant.

But nothing that has been said will stop Irving from sharing what he wants.

“I’m not going to resign myself to something I believe in,” he said. “I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not the only one. I have a whole army around me.”

Irving said he understood Tsai’s point of view, but was quick to say he wasn’t doing anything harmful, adding that just because he posts something doesn’t necessarily mean he supports it.

“Have I done something illegal? Did I hurt anyone?” Irving said. “Did I hurt anyone? Do I go out and say I hate a certain group of people?”

But he went far enough that the Nets and the NBA spoke out against hate speech.

Tsai and the Nets were quick to respond to the latest issues caused by Irving, who had previously supported the idea that the Earth would be flat and shared an old clip on social media from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last month — though Irving clarified that he wasn’t. did stand behind Jones when it came to the Sandy Hook shooting.

“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,” Tsai wrote on Twitter of Irving.

The NBA said on Saturday that “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable”.

“We believe that we all have a role to play in ensuring that such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue to work with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact. of their words and actions,” the league said.

It was not clear if that meant the league has spoken to Irving, or plans to speak to him about the matter.

Irving was unavailable for most of the Nets’ home games last season because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as was required in New York City. The Nets refused to give him a contract extension this summer, meaning Irving could be with the team in his final season.

“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and tolerate the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the team said in a statement. “We believe that in these situations, our first action should be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL, who have supported us during this time.”

Nash was asked on Saturday if he felt the latest Irving storyline was a distraction for the team.

“I don’t think our group is overly affected by the situation,” Nash said. “We’ve had so many situations in the last 2 1/2 years that I think we’ve built up a kind of immunity to it. I also think our guys aren’t that familiar with the material.”

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