NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving stopped short before formally apologizing Thursday for his controversial social media post about a book and film that feature anti-Semitic tropes — the way many in both brooklyn nets the organization and the NBA league office hoped to hear.
“I take responsibility for posting this,” Irving said in his first public comments since a contentious Saturday night press conference. “Some of the things that were questionable in there, wrong. As I said the first time you asked me when I was sitting on that stage, I don’t believe everything that everyone posts – it’s is a documentary. So I take responsibility.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver a statement released minutes before Irving spoke, said he was “disappointed” that Irving “did not issue an unqualified apology and specifically denounced the despicable and damaging content contained in the film he chose to publicize”. Silver added that he will meet Irving in person next week.
But Irving again held firm on Thursday regarding both his decision to post the link to the film — which he has since deleted — and his postgame comments on Saturday night.
“I meant no harm,” Irving said. “I’m not the one who made the documentary.”
Irving spoke for just over six minutes Thursday at a press conference that was interrupted by a member of the Nets public relations staff. He said some things in “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” were wrong, but didn’t say he shouldn’t have posted a link to it and instead asked reporters why. they didn’t ask about black history. in America.
“Where were you guys asking these same questions when I was a kid learning about the traumatic events in my family history and where I’m proud to have come from,” Irving said, “and proud to being here and why when I repeat to myself that I am not going to step down has nothing to do with rejecting another race or group of people.
“I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through and the fact that it has pinned me against the Jewish community and I’m here to answer questions about whether or not I’m sorry for something that I did ‘I didn’t create and it was something that I shared, and I tell everyone that I take responsibility, that’s where I’m sitting.’
Irving was also questioned specifically about his beliefs regarding the Holocaust.
“These lies are unfortunate,” he said, referring to the film’s content. “And it’s not that I don’t believe in the Holocaust. I never said that. I never said it. It didn’t come out of my mouth. I never tweeted it . I never liked anything like it. So the Holocaust in itself is a meaningful event for a large group of people who suffered something that could have been prevented.”
When asked specifically if he held anti-Semitic beliefs, Irving chose not to answer the question directly.
“Again, I’m going to repeat. I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you ask me the same questions over and over again,” Irving said. “But it’s not going to turn into a cycle of rotation – questions upon questions.
“I told you how I felt. I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. This is where I sit. … I can’t be anti-Semitic if I know where I’m from.”
Irving also declined to directly answer whether he had met with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which had issued a joint statement Wednesday night with the Nets and Irving.
“I was informed that they wanted to have a meeting, and we took care of that,” he said.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a tweet Thursday that the ADL “took (Irving) at his word when he said he took responsibility, but today he didn’t. ‘didn’t keep his promise’.
The answer to the question “Do you have anti-Semitic beliefs” is always an unequivocal “NO”. We have taken @KyrieIrving on his word when he said he was taking responsibility, but today he broke his promise. Kyrie clearly has a lot of work to do. https://t.co/0hQ6pEueOP
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 3, 2022
Irving and the Nets announced Wednesday that they would each donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes. But Silver said in his statement Thursday that Irving needed to go further.
“While we appreciate that he has agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not featured unreserved apology and more specifically denounced the despicable and harmful content contained in the film which he has chosen to make known”, declared the commissioner.
The National Basketball Players Association also released a statement this week echoing an earlier statement from the league this week, which did not identify Irving. The NBPA also did not mention Irving, who is the union’s vice president and a member of its executive committee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.