Kyrie Irving posted on his Twitter with a link to the documentary book Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America! by Ronald Dalton, to his 4.5 million followers on Twitter. Kyrie received a lot of backlash from this post, along with thousands questioning if Kyrie Irving supports antisemitism, hostile behavior and ideology against Jewish people.
Now what caused this to happen? It was stated by Irving himself in an interview with Khaled A. Beydoun, a reporter from LANDSCAPE, on April 27, 2021, saying ‘“All praise is due to God, Allah, for this. …For me, in terms of my faith and what I believe in, being part of the Muslim community, being committed to Islam and also just being committed to all races, cultures and religions, just having an understanding and respect. I just want to put that as a foundation.”’ You may ask, what does this have to do with Ivring’s post? During a press conference, Kyrie Irving was questioned how he even found the documentary and why he posted it on his Twitter. He started off saying “...it’s a title given to Christ. Philippians 2:11, and my name translates into Hebrew language as Yaweh. So I went on …Amazon Prime, I was like, you know what, let me see if there are any documentaries on Yaweh. So in the search bar [I] typed in Yahweh [and the documentary] came up. Went out and shared it on my platform. That was my night” (The Yes App).
While many question if this is Kyrie Irving simply making an excuse to make the backlash seem unnecessary or if he is just trying to apologize while seeming innocent, what was done was done. Irving is not the only person to have done this, a multitude of celebrities have several people questioning why they decided to make choices before really thinking them out. Ye (Kanye West) is one celebrity that’s famous for making comments on antisemitism, religion, etc.
At first, the NBA player refused to apologize. This had led him into a 5 game suspension without pay by the Nets, according to NBA: The Associated Press by Brian Mahoney. The decline in Irving’s apology isn’t the only reason why he was suspended. When questioned if he had any antisemitic beliefs, Irving refused to respond in a way that would confirm that he had no antisemitic beliefs.
While Kyrie Irving was receiving backlash, Nick Cannon along with Jaylen Brown have decided to back him up. According to an article on CBS|NBA: Kyrie Irving suspension: Jaylen Brown says NBPA has issues with requirements for Nets guard's reinstatement, by Jack Maloney, it states, ‘"I don't believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic," Brown said. "I don't think people in our governing bodies think he's antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature. It's sensitivity to the dialect around that. We don't want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don't believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully the NBA feels the same way.’” (Maloney).
According to news outlet Comedy Hype, it was stated that Nick Cannon, who had some past history about having anti-semitic views, spoke out in defense of Kyrie Irving during a conversation with the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt. Nick Cannon commented, claiming that Kyrie Irving isn’t antisemitic. He himself had to deal with some backlash as well after having been accused of being antisemitic, due to a comment he had made during a conversations with Professor Griff.
Nick Cannon defended Kyrie as stated, “Cannon defended Irving during a conversation with Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt this week ... saying, "I can wholeheartedly say I know Kyrie Irving is not antisemitic." Greenblatt says he took serious issue with Irving sharing a film that questioned the legitimacy of the Holocaust ... which he explained is dehumanizing to Jewish people. Cannon says it goes both ways, though ... claiming the conditions of Irving's suspension -- including meeting with Jewish leaders and completing training -- is similar to “buck-breaking”. Nick explained the term for Greenblatt, saying ... "The slave masters would bring the buck -- the one that gets out of line -- so all the other slaves would see lash after lash, show them the power they had to set an example. 'This is what you must do to fall in line.' So, when we see the 6 things that Kyrie must do to get his job back, that's dehumanizing.”’(TMZ).
According to the Brooklyn Nets list steps Kyrie Irving must take before returning to court include the following;
Must apologize and condemn the movie that he posted on his Twitter.
Must make a $500K donation to anti-hate causes
Must go through a sensitivity training and an Antisemitic training
Meet with the ADL, Jewish Leaders
Must meet with Joe Tsai to show that he understands
It was asked of Irving to release a verbal apology that shows his sincerity and that he understands the harmful and false information that he had shared on Twitter. He must also apologize on all of his social media accounts.
Kyrie Irving isn’t the only one who is getting backlash. According to an article made by Ariel Zilber, Amazon is Still Selling Anti-Semitic Film Promoted by Kyrie Irving on the New York Post, they state, “The movie also alleges a global Jewish conspiracy to oppress black people and that Jews were partially to blame for the African slave trade” (Zilber). Amazon is also getting extreme backlash for selling a movie that gives out false information.
Whether or not Kyrie had “pure intentions” for posting the movie, due to him wanting to spread things about his religion with a documentary that he said to have thought was informational and what he knew was true or not, many people see it as promoting. While he says it isn’t and more celebrities continue to back him up on it, to many it still doesn’t make sense. Without a doubt, this is a mistake that Irving made that could have been avoided.
This is just a clear example from his mistake that many of us can learn from. Research and make sure you know exactly what you're going to post, the subject that you are trying to inform people about and make sure you are doing it with precaution.