NBA

Silver met with Irving earlier this week after the NBA star was promoting an anti-Semitic video on Twitter.

Kyrie Irving was suspended by the Nets for at least five matches after promoting the anti-Semitic video on Twitter.

WASHINGTON – NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he did not believe Brooklyn Nets ranger Kyrie Irving was anti-Semitic after meeting him in person this week at league headquarters in New York. Irving received a reaction to promoting an anti-Semitic film on Twitter last month.

“We had a direct and honest conversation,” said Silver, who is a Jew, in an interview with The New York Times, adding: “This is someone I have known for a decade and have never heard a single anti-Semitic word from him. or, frankly, hatred against any group. “

In a subsequent phone call, Silver added, “Whether he is an anti-Semite or not does not matter to the damage caused by posting hateful content.”

Silver declined to explain further about his meeting with Irving, citing an agreement with him to keep the details of their conversation secret. Silver spoke to the Times after speaking at the Sports Business Journal conference in Washington. It was his first public appearance in the midst of a storm since Irving tweeted a link to an anti-Semitic movie on Amazon.

Silver suggested to conference attendees, in response to a question about Irving, that Amazon has some responsibility for hosting the movie on its platform.

“I think Amazon has to make decisions as well,” said Silver. He added: “My first instinct was not that for me something that is genuinely mean and full of hate speech would be included in Amazon Prime.”

Silver told the audience that the social media post had done “tremendous damage” to Irving and “potentially” the team and the league. He added that “there is no doubt” that Irving was not an anti-Semite.

In a Twitter post on October 27, Irving linked to the Amazon rental and purchase website for the 2018 movie Hebrew to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which is full of anti-Semitic leads and is based on the book of the same name. Irving deleted the mail three days later. He has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organization that fights against anti-Semitism; other NBA players; fans; local politicians; network owner Joe Tsai; and Silver incl. For a week after his post, Irving did not apologize or say that he had no anti-Semitic beliefs, prompting the Network to suspend him indefinitely for at least five matches. Irving may be eligible to return on Sunday for the Nets road game against the Los Angeles Lakers. On Thursday, more than 200 characters from the entertainment industry, including actors Mila Kunis and Debra Messing, signed an open letter to Amazon urging it to remove the film and book it is based on from the platform.

The NBA and Nets faced criticism as Irving was not suspended by the team until November 3, a week after his original post.

“I feel we’ve reached the right result with his suspension,” Silver said. “And looking back, maybe we got there faster. I accept this criticism. But I felt it was important to understand the context in which it was posted, to understand what discipline was appropriate, not in any way to justify it, but to understand what discipline was appropriate. “

For the league office, Silver said that the movie “took some work and research on our part to understand it,” which Irving wrote. Silver also said that he watched the movie, which is about 3.5 hours.

“When we did this investigation, it became clear to me that it was indeed hate speech and we, along with Brooklyn Nets, responded,” Silver said.

Silver said the Nets will decide when Irving can return to the team “in agreement with the league.” The networks shared some of the conditions for Irving’s return, including that he must meet local Jewish leaders and the team. Although Irving has publicly apologized in an Instagram post after he was suspended, it is unclear if he will meet the band’s conditions. Irving and the Nets announced in a statement from the ADL last week that they would each donate $ 500,000 to combating hatred.

When asked if he was comfortable with the terms of the Net, Silver said, “This is currently under discussion.”
He added: “I think what I understand is that the Networks want to turn this into a partnership between them and Kyrie as to what countermeasures are appropriate. Because the most important thing is that your remorse must be really authentic and true. And I think the best terms will come when they are agreed, not imposed.

But some people said the network conditions were too onerous. The Lakers forward LeBron James, who played Irving in Cleveland, said in a Twitter post on Thursday that Irving should return to the field.

“I told you I don’t believe in sharing harmful information,” James said in his tweet, referring to his comment to journalists last week that Irving’s post was harmful. “And I will still be, but Kyrie has apologized and should be able to play.”

He continued, “I think so. It’s so simple. Help him learn – but he should have fun. I believe that what he was asked to return to the dance floor is overkill.

James said it was just his opinion and added about Irving: “He’s not the person being portrayed about him.”

Silver replied “no” when asked if he had an answer to James ‘post and began discussing Irving’s law as part of the league’s collective agreement to be represented by the NBA players’ union, of which Irving serves as vice president. Boston Celtics ranger Jaylen Brown, another vice-chairman of the union’s executive committee, told the Boston Globe in an interview earlier this week that he expects the union to appeal the suspension.

“That’s something we’ll have to deal with,” Silver said. “But at the moment we are working with Kyrie and his representatives to try to come up with a corrective action plan.”

Irving’s social media post also cost him at least one sponsor: sports giant Nike suspended his partnership with Irving after years of creating signature shoes bearing the Irving name.

Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, told CNBC on Thursday that Irving has “crossed the line” and doubts the company will ever work with Irving again.

“He made some statements that we just can’t follow, and that’s why we ended our relationship,” Knight said. – And it didn’t bother me.

Brown, who was also Irving’s teammate at the Celtics, tweeted in response: “Since when does Nike care about ethics?”

Silver told the crowd at the conference that the delay in responding more decisively to Irving was a result of a desire to be thorough.

“It doesn’t mean that if he said” I’m sorry, it would be over, “Silver said. “I think it would definitely make a big difference for millions of people. But that doesn’t mean he still wouldn’t be responsible for it. But I think that’s what we’re looking for in the league. Real responsibility and the fact that people from the outside, from the player – wherever they are – to the coach, the management, to the owner and the league office, that we are held accountable for our actions. This is what you want to see as a fan.

This article originally appeared in New York Times.

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