NBA star LeBron James says he knows Kyrie Irving was wrong with his anti-semitic tweets and refusal to apologize, but the punishment meted out to him is “excessive.” James came to Irving’s defense in a series of tweets, saying that Irving is not the negative person that people are portraying him as.
Irving was recently suspended from The Nets after failing to apologize for promoting an anti-Semitic film on his Twitter account. The team’s statement read that it has repeatedly tried and failed to help Irving understand the danger in his tweets. To resume his active player status, he has to satisfy several remedial measures.
The statement also read that Irving has to satisfy several remedial measures to resume his active player status. These measures include sensitivity training and meeting with Jewish community leaders. The basketball player’s partnership with sports brand Nike has also been suspended due to controversy and will likely be terminated.
Read on to find out more.
LeBron James Defends Kyrie Irving Against ‘Excessive’ Punishment
James, who played with Irving for three years at the Cleveland Cavaliers, recently took to Twitter to defend his former teammate amidst his anti-Semitic controversy. He wrote, “I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way, but Kyrie apologized, and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple.”
💭 I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 10, 2022
The basketball legend clearly feels Irving’s punishment from the basketball world is excessive, especially since Irving has apologized. He added, “Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor, I think, is excessive, IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him.”
Kyrie Irving Was Suspended Indefinitely
Irving was recently suspended from his team, The Nets, after he met with the press twice and failed to clearly apologize for his anti-Semitic tweets on both occasions. He also refused to condemn the problematic anti-semitic film he’d promoted and questioned why people were criticizing him for promoting the film.
In response to the increasing controversy, the NBA made several public comments on hate speech, condemning it and anti-Semitism. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently delivered a statement on the controversy and said he had plans to meet with Irving.
Shortly after, The Nets released the suspension statement, which read that they’d tried repeatedly to “work with” Irving and “help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate.”
Kyrie Irving Has To Satisfy Several Remedial Stipulations
The suspension statement also read that Irving would have to complete “a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct” before he can resume his previous status as an active player and return to the floor. It was these measures that James criticized in his tweets and called “excessive.”
A report from The Athletic read that The Nets had informed Irving of the six objective remedial measures he had to complete. They reportedly include antisemitic training, sensitivity training, and meetings with Jewish community leaders in Brooklyn. Irving has also finally issued an apology to his fans, team, and the Jewish community.
Nike Has Also Suspended Its Partnership With Kyrie Irving
Irving’s suspension from The Nets isn’t the only consequence of his anti-Semitic controversy. Sports mega-brand Nike recently announced that it had suspended its partnership with Irving, effective immediately. Irving’s signature shoe line with Nike, which has existed since 2014, is one of the most popular in the league.
The company’s statement partly read, “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-semitism. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.” Co-founder Phil Knight later shared that it’s likely Nike will fully terminate its long-term partnership with Irving.
During a recent TV interview with CNBC, Knight made his first public statements about Irving’s controversy. He said, “Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple, so he made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And yeah, I was fine with that.”