The process is complete and Kyrie Irving will return to the court Sunday night vs. the Grizzlies at Barclays Center. The decision to move Irving from “questionable” to “available” was announced in a tweet from the Nets PR apparatus and a short statement from the Nets...
“Kyrie took ownership of his journey and had conversations with several members of the Jewish community. We are pleased that he is going about the process in a meaningful way.”
The Nets have been 5-3 since Irving was suspended. Prior to the suspension the Nets were 2-6.
The announcements followed a social media post thanking his fans for their support and a press availability with the Nets beat writers Sunday morning. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports reported at the beginning of Irving’s suspension that the Nets told Irving that “he must meet with the media and issue a verbal apology that clearly states he’s sorry for sharing the film and understands the film is harmful and untrue.”
The apology in front of the beat writers, which lasted 13 minutes was the second public apology involving the local media in two days. The Nets guard also spoke for 21 minutes Saturday with SNY’s Ian Begley.
Irving both apologized for the harm and explained why he did not apologize when he had the opportunity in post-game commentaries. Sean Marks, the Nets GM, Irving’s agent and stepmother Shetellia Riley Irving, and Tamika Tremaglio, the executive director of the NBPA, the players union, were on hand — and visible — during the availability, as were league PR reps.
“I’m grateful we all can share space today, because there’s a moment in history that I’m gonna remember forever, just because of the impact that all this has made on our world, cultures, not only just here in America but abroad,” Irving said, opening his meeting with the media Sunday morning.
“And right now we’re just here to really take this effort to make a more equal world, a more fair world. We’re all here to take it up in arms, I pray and I hope; because it’s not just a solo act for me to try to take on the burdens of the world and change things. And I’ve just got to be aware of that.
“So with all that being said, I just want to offer my deep apologies to all those who are impacted over these last few weeks, specifically my Jewish relatives, my black relatives, you know, all races and cultures. I feel like we all felt the impact. And I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech, or anti-Semitism, or anything that is anti going against the human race.
“I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us. And I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions because there was a way I should have handled all this. And as I look back and reflect, when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted. That wasn’t my intent at all. I meant no harm to any person, any group of people. And yeah, this is a big moment for me, because I’m able to learn throughout this process that the power of my voice is very strong. The influence that I have within my community is very strong, and I want to be responsible for that. In order to do that, you have to admit when you’re wrong in instances where you hurt people, and it impacts them.”
Asked about why he didn’t apologize earlier, Irving had this response: “I was rightfully defensive that there was an assumption that I could be antisemitic or that I meant to post the documentary to stand side by side with all the views of the documentary. I was defensive initially.”
“I think it was inappropriate, the way it was released in the way that is somehow pinned me in the corner as it’s I was guilty of something and as if I was this antisemitic person, this label that was placed on me.”
Shortly after the media availability, the NBPA released its own statement on Irving’s return and noted that he had met not just with Jewish leaders but other “thought leaders” on the issue. As a result, said the statement, Irving has a “deeper understanding and has grown personally from this experience...”
- Kyrie Irving speaks on returning to the Nets (Video) - YES Network
- Kyrie Irving Upgraded to Available vs. Memphis Grizzlies - Chris Milholen - Sports Illustrated
- Kyrie Irving rejoins Nets, apologizes for hurt his actions caused - AP
- Emotional Kyrie Irving delivers public mea culpa before Nets return - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets say Kyrie Irving available to play after serving 8-game ban - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Kyrie Irving activated for Nets vs. Grizzlies after issuing public apology - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving offers ‘deep apologies,’ will return from suspension vs. Grizzlies - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Nets lift Kyrie Irving’s suspension after emotional apology - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie Irving to return to Nets on Sunday after issuing public apology - John Healy - WFAN