NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that after meeting with suspended Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving earlier in the week, he has “no doubt that he’s not antisemitic.”
“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver told the New York Times. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.”
Silver, who is Jewish, had criticized Irving’s conduct for posting a link to an antisemitic film and originally refusing to issue an unqualified apology.
Irving subsequently apologized for his actions in an Instagram post. However, that apology only came after the Nets announced he would be suspended for a minimum of five games after sharing the film, then refusing to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic views.”
Silver’s meeting with Irving came days after the NBA commissioner delivered a strong statement in which he mentioned he planned to meet with the seven-time All-Star, describing Irving’s actions as a “reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material.”
“I feel that we got to the right outcome here in terms of his suspension,” Silver said, referring to Irving’s suspension of at least five games in order for him to fulfill a list of actions the Nets made mandatory before his return to playing.
“In retrospect, we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that criticism,” he added. “But I felt it was important to understand the context in which it was posted to understand what discipline was appropriate, not in any way to excuse it but to understand what discipline was appropriate.”
Silver went on to explain that he watched the movie in question along with the Nets in order to understand the full ramifications of Irving’s post.
“Once we did that investigation, it was clear to me that this was indeed hate speech and we, together with the Brooklyn Nets, did respond,” Silver told the news outlet.
While he did not reveal details of his meeting with Irving, he noted that “whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)