Sunday marked the return of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving following his suspension from the Nets organization after he promoted a controversial film that has been heavily criticized as being antisemitic.
The star point guard had 14 points in a Nets victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, but it seems like his performance was overshadowed by a viral demonstration outside of the Nets stadium prior to the game.
A group of supporters showed up at Barclays Center before the game. According to Nets reporter Kristian Winfield, the group appeared to be Black Hebrew Israelites who were signing outside the stadium prior to the game.
Black Hebrew Israelites are outside Barclays Center singing ahead of Kyrie Irving’s return from suspension tonight pic.twitter.com/Gay3YkcRnN
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) November 20, 2022
It seems that despite returning to the court on Sunday, Irving is having trouble distancing himself from the film that he was supporting, which has caught the attention of the NBA world.
strange times https://t.co/woou0xyZgR
— i wrote a piece about this (@andrejgee) November 20, 2022
What makes this clip sad is Jaylen Brown and Isiah Thomas are already co-signing this foolishness from the
Black Hebrew Israelites. Kyrie Irving’s arrogance and ignorance on antisemitism led to this. https://t.co/xhXRO2yEY3
— Olafimihan Oshin (@olafimihanoshin) November 21, 2022
Kyrie did say he had a whole army(no they not armed) around him and he wasn’t lying. https://t.co/ONDqa0BXIb
— Chris Williamson (@CWilliamson44) November 20, 2022
Oh no… https://t.co/Tm8xNOp0Tb
— PJ Green (@PJGreenTV) November 20, 2022
While Irving eventually gave an “apology” for his promotion of the film, he has certainly been noncommittal about his beliefs, saying on Sunday that he was “misinterpreted and misunderstood” which ultimately he believes led to his suspension.
He was surely hoping that this situation would blow over, but it now appears that he has the support of Black Hebrew Israelites, who contain members that are notably listed by ADL (Anti-Defamation League) as an extremist group.
Irving discussed his supporters following the game, and revealed that he thinks it’s a “discussion for another time”.
On the antisemitic demonstrators who showed up in support of Irving: “I think that’s a conversation for another day. I’m just here to focus on the game.”
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) November 21, 2022
The Nets would surely love to just focus on basketball, but it doesn’t seem like that will be the case with Irving for the time being.