Kyrie Irving against the Bulls on Oct. 31, 2022. Oct 31, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For much of this week, it’s been reported that Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving could return from his team-issued suspension as early as Sunday’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The team handed Irving an indefinite suspension (but one of at least five games) Nov. 3, a week after he promoted an antisemitic film on social media and initially refused to apologize, only issuing an apology once he was suspended.

Sunday will mark the Nets‘ ninth game since their suspension of Irving (seen above during an Oct. 31 game against the Chicago Bulls), so that suspension has gone longer than many initially figured. But there was still some uncertainty remaining on Irving’s return thanks to the team’s checklist of actions he had to complete before returning. On Sunday morning, though, Irving put out a statement suggesting he was coming back.

Then TNT’s Chris Haynes reported that Irving would play:

And Irving then started a press conference with a long “I meant no harm” speech, one particularly notable for his “there were some things that were misinterpreted and misunderstood in those comments” remark:

One of the items on the Nets’ checklist for Irving was “meet with owner Joe Tsai and lead franchise officials and demonstrate the lessons learned and that the gravity of the harm caused in the situation is understood, and provide assurances that this type of behavior will not be repeated.” The “misinterpreted and misunderstood” continued blame of others for Irving’s own decisions and remarks doesn’t appear to fit that, and neither does ‘I didn’t want to generalize harmfully Jews’ (promoting an antisemitic film and causing the related antisemitic book full of harmful generalizations about Jews to shoot up the bestseller charts certainly does that),  but it seems to be enough for the Nets to allow Irving to suit up again.

The Nets are 7-9 on the season, but 5-3 without Irving. We’ll see how they respond to his return to their lineup Sunday night.

[The New York Times; photo from Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.