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Silver ‘disappointed’ Kyrie Irving won’t apologize, condemn antisemitic video; Irving doubles down

Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In a string of stunning events minutes apart Thursday morning, 1) NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a strong statement saying the agreement among Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League, announced only 18 hours earlier, wasn’t enough, 2) then in a meeting the media, Irving doubled down, refusing to apologize, something Silver had specifically called for.

in discussing the statement, Silver said Irving had neither offered a “non-qualified apology” nor “denounced the vile and hateful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.” Silver also said he plans to meet with the Nets guard “in person in the next week.”

Here’s the full statement from NBA Communications.

The strong and rapid response to Irving’s statement Wednesday night would seem to suggest that Silver had not signed off on the agreement and statement released by the Nets early Wednesday evening.

Not long after the Silver statement, a large group of media met with Irving at HSS Training Center as he discussed the issue with a throng of media at HSS Training Center. He declined to apologize, saying “I do not mean to cause anyone harm. I’m not the one who made the documentary.” He noted, “Some points that were made in (the film) were unfortunate.”

He was also asked if he was antisemitic, Irving responded multiple times with the same line, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from…

“When I repeat myself that I’m not going to stand down — it has nothing to do with dismissing any other race or group of people. I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through.”

He also said he wasn’t bothered by media criticism.

“I’m a beacon of light. I’m not afraid of these mics, these cameras. Any label you put on me I’m able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary.”

When asked if he was surprised he had hurt people, Irving responded,“Yeah, I think i can ask a better question: where were you when i was a kid finding out that 300 million of my ancestors were buried in America?”

Asked if he had met personally meet with the ADL, Irving responded, “I was informed that they wanted to have a meeting. and we handled it.” According to multiple reports, Irving sent his agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, and his father, Drederick Irving, to the meeting.

After Irving’s comments, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, tweeted Irving “clearly has a lot of work to do.”

A week ago, the Nets superstar disappointed and angered many Nets fans — as well as others across the NBA landscape and beyond — with his promotion of Hebrews to Negroes, a four-year-old antisemitic film based on a seven-year-old book. Then, on Saturday night, in a combative post-game media availability, Irving appeared to double down, refusing to remove the offending tweet. He ultimately removed it on Sunday night, which then Nets coach Steve Nash said was “helpful.”

Meanwhile, interim head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters that Ben Simmons’ left knee soreness is bad enough that he will not travel with the team on the first two games of the Nets first road trip.