The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving indefinitely last week following the controversy around his promotion of an antisemitic film and the subsequent lack of apology offered (until after). At the time it was unclear exactly when Irving might be able to return to the team. Friday, owner Joe Tsai implied that it could be pretty soon.
Tsai took to Twitter on Friday to say that he and his wife Clara had met with Irving on Thursday and that he was convinced that the Nets star was not antisemitic.
“Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday,” wrote Tsai. “We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.”
However, in a follow-up tweet, Tsai stopped short of saying Kyrie’s suspension had been lifted.
“The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing, and education,” he wrote.
The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022
That’s a stark contrast from an earlier report that the Tsais considered cutting Irving after watching the movie that he had promoted on his social media accounts.
While we wait to see when Irving might be reinstated to play for the Nets, there were certainly some strong reactions to Tsai’s comments and the way the situation has evolved.
Feels like the issue here has been lost and goal posts are being moved. It's not about whether or not Kyrie hates Jews. Its about him using his platform to promote dangerous hate speech and continuously defending that action https://t.co/q9zYY80hDL
— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) November 11, 2022
It’s almost like conversations with people we disagree with makes us realize we’re more alike than we thought? Twitter’s echo chamber hates dialogue like this https://t.co/YbcX5iMVQE
— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) November 11, 2022
I was skeptical that the Nets ever intended to bring Kyrie back into the fold, but Tsai has been steadfast in wanting to have a dialogue and understand his star guard. So here we go. https://t.co/KExpD75um0
— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) November 11, 2022
it’s weird when someone with a rooted financial stake makes themself a defacto arbitrator on what constitutes antisemitism https://t.co/Md7i6rF8JX
— mike taddow (@MikeTaddow) November 11, 2022
Regardless of how we each might feel about this situation with Kyrie, I think most of us can agree that having these conversations is the first thing the Nets and NBA should have done. https://t.co/9NNHTh3zh5
— Andrew John (@Andrew_L_John) November 11, 2022
Joe Tsai putting himself in charge of this without outside consultation was a clear miss from the start, because it’s impossible to trust him as arbiter when he stepped in it so badly initially.
Obviously a tweet is also a very dumb way to express something with this much depth. https://t.co/7VurtcKCn0
— Craig Hoffman (@CraigHoffman) November 11, 2022