NBA commissioner Adam Silver on meeting with Kyrie Irving: ‘We had a direct and candid conversation’

After meeting with Brooklyn nets guard Kyrie Irving, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that he doesn’t believe that Irving is antisemitic. Irving is currently serving a team-mandated suspension after posting a film that contained antisemitic material and refusing to apologize for doing so in a timely manner. 

“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver said of his talk with Irving, via The New York Times. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.”

Silver may not believe Irving to be antisemitic, but he does realize the hurt that can be caused by someone of Irving’s stature posting such content. “Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content,” Silver said. 

While Irving wasn’t punished by the league directly, Silver thinks the suspension handed down by the Nets was fair. 

“I feel that we got to the right outcome here in terms of his suspension,” Silver said. “And in retrospect, we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that 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 excuse it but to understand what discipline was appropriate.”  

In addition to the minimum five-game suspension, the Nets also reportedly laid out a list of six requirements that Irving needs to meet in order to be reinstated to the team. Those requirements include apologizing and condemning the film he posted and completing sensitivity training. On Brooklyn’s terms, Silver had this to say: 

“I think that what I understand where things stand is the Nets are looking to make this into a partnership between them and Kyrie as to what remediation is appropriate. Because what is most important here is that the remorse be truly authentic and genuine. And I think that will best come by conditions that are agreed to upon as opposed to imposed on him.”

Irving has been feeling the ramifications of his decision to post the film in question. In addition to being suspended by the Nets, he also had his contract with Nike terminated. Shortly after he was suspended by Brooklyn, Irving issued an apology on Instagram. 

“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote.” … I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all.” 

Hopefully, Irving is truly able to learn and grow from this situation. 

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