Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is expected to be cleared to play Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, league sources with knowledge of the situation reported. The athletic. Here’s what you need to know:
- Irving will miss his eighth straight game against Portland on Thursday night as he serves a team-imposed suspension for posting a link to a film containing anti-Semitic material on Oct. 27.
- Sources close to the Nets and the league say both sides are happy with what Irving has done throughout the process, especially given the number of community leaders he has met.
- A source, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said Irving chose to go “above and beyond” what was asked of him.
- Irving, a seven-time All-Star guard who has averaged 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season, has not played since November 1.
After Irving shared a link to the film on social media, he met with the media on October 29 and November 3 and did not unequivocally apologize for posting the content and condemned the film completely.
In response, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association made multiple public comments admonishing hate speech, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issuing a strong statement mentioning his intention to face the seven-time All-Star.
The Nets suspended Irving for “not less than five games,” saying in a statement that the organization “made repeated efforts to work with (him) to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began when he made a film with deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hatred.”
Since then, Irving met with Silver on November 8, with sources describing a “productive and understanding” visit in New York City. Two days later, Irving and his family met with Nets co-owners, Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai.
“We have spent quality time understanding each other and it is clear to me that Kyrie has no hatred towards Jewish people or any group,” Tsai tweeted on Nov. 11. “The Nets and Kyrie, along with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively on a process of forgiveness, healing, and education.”
Nike has suspended its relationship with Irving with immediate effect. The company said in part: “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
After Irving’s suspension, The athletic reported that the team notified Irving of a list of six steps he must take to return to the team.
“(The Anti-Defamation League) has never set the terms for Kyrie’s return. At the end of the day, it’s up to the Nets, the NBA and the union to figure out whether it’s appropriate for him to return or not,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. The athletic on Thursday.
“I can say from my point of view that I take Kyrie at his word that he is truly sorry and that he is willing to make an effort to educate himself and engage in constructive dialogue. I also trust the Nets, the NBA and the union to make the right choice and if they are happy I have no reason not to be.”
A source close to the Anti-Defamation League added that the ADL does not believe Irving is anti-Semitic.
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