NEW YORK (AP) — Fans wearing “Fight Antisemitism” shirts occupied some courtside seats at the Brooklyn-Indiana game on Monday night, days after Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out a link to a film that includes anti-Jewish tropes.
Irving posted the link to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on Twitter on Thursday. The synopsis on Amazon said the film “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel.”
He defended his decision to do so on Saturday, then deleted the tweet Sunday after a massive outcry including criticism from Nets owner Joe Tsai and the the Anti-Defamation League, along with a statement from the NBA denouncing all forms of hate speech.
Irving said Saturday he embraced all religions and defiantly defended his right to post whatever he believes.
“I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in,” Irving said. “I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
Nets coach Steve Nash said Monday that he looks at the matter as “an opportunity for us to grow and understand new perspectives.”
“I think the organization is trying to take that stance or they may communicate through this, and try to all come out in a better position and with more understanding and more empathy for every side of this debate and situation,” Nash said.
Irving has previously supported the idea of the Earth being flat, recently shared an old clip from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and was unavailable for most of the Nets’ home games last season because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as was mandated in New York City.
The Nets then declined to give him a contract extension this summer, meaning Irving could be in his final season with the team.