Kyrie Irving was wrong, but he doesn’t deserve to lose his career

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets looks for the incoming ball while playing against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on April 23, 2022. (Photo by John Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an editorial, and the opinions expressed are those of the author. Read more opinions on the Grio.

Let’s be clear: I abhor anti-Semitism in all its forms. I stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers. I was recorded for decades how much I admire the history and resilience of the Jewish people and wish that we as black people could emulate their economic successes and sense of community support.

Furthermore, I agree that there was an unacceptable situation rise of anti-Semitism online and offline. And that’s not OK, ever. So while we can all stand together against hate, we must remember that in America we have the freedom to believe as we love, to worship as we love, to love who we love and certainly to share on social networks books that we like, films that we found powerful, articles and others.

That said, I want to state just as emphatically that I disagree with the Brooklyn Nets’ decision to suspend indefinitely (aka: cancel) NBA star player, Kyrie Irving. The team released A declaration which read in part: “Such a failure to disavow anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply troubling, goes against the values ​​of our organization and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. ”

How is someone unfit to play basketball because they voiced a view or shared a link to a movie based on a bestselling book, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” ​​by Ronald Dalton? The book is now the #1 best-selling book in the religion and spirituality category on Amazon right now in light of the drama surrounding Irving. Kyrie did nothing wrong but refused to back down from the bullies who demanded that she speak out, speak out and apologize for her learned experience.

And after removing him from the team “indefinitely”, the Nets would have liked him to meet with Jewish leaders so that they can inform and educate him on why what he did caused them pain. My issue is that the man in this case simply shared a link to a movie that was offensive to them. I just don’t understand how this is what we do in America in the 21st century. People believe all kinds of crazy, inappropriate and false things. Kyrie has always been a joker. He’s an anti-vaxxer who’s missed most home games because he would not comply with the New York City vaccination mandate, and it once questioned if the earth was flat.

But here’s the thing: Irving finally apologized to his staff instagram account after the team announced it was suspending him for at least five games:

“While researching YHWH, I released a documentary that contained false anti-Semitic statements, narratives and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish race/religion,” Irving wrote. “I take full responsibility for my actions. I am grateful to have a great platform to share knowledge and want to move forward having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this. .

That too was not enough. Worse, if we’re somewhere in 2022 where a black man in America can’t share a link to a movie on Amazon Prime, which allows the controversial film on its platform, we’re no longer America. Why does white-owned Amazon get a pass when Kyrie loses her career? Doesn’t it make more sense that people are upset with those who market such anti-Semitism – people like multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon?

If Jews are offended – and they have every right to be – then they should protest Amazon. Or protest against the author who wrote the book in question. Something is wrong when we pursue a star NBA player, who happens to be black, when Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump and sitting members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and others have said the most disgusting, offensive and anti-Semitic of things.

Oh wait, I know what it is: racism. Racism against the black man who dares to think for himself, question himself or explore different points of view. It’s a movie based on a book, folks. It is meant for people to see, discuss and share in their circles. It seems to me, at least, to intentionally target black men with controversial views or opinions.

In Irving’s case, he didn’t even say anything. I get why Kanye was canceled because he shamelessly trafficked in anti-Semitism and challenged Adidas not to let him go. They did it. And, let’s just say he found out the hard way: two billion dollars too late that he was wrong. His free speech cost him billions and probably damaged his brand forever.

Here’s what I mean: Two black men in the past month have been ruined by allegations of anti-Semitism, yet another example of how loud and defiant black voices are being silenced. Both Kanye and Kyrie were anti-vaxxers, controversial, and said off-putting things for years that gave many of us heartburn. My question is: where is the line? Why are they only ruined or dragged into the public square to isolate themselves when they offend one group rather than another?

This is the question we must grapple with and answer. Otherwise, we are putting a chilling effect on black freedom of thought and expression, while others who are not black benefit and are not disturbed by doing the same or worse.


Sophia A. Nelson is editor-in-chief for theGrio. Nelson is a television commentator and is the author of “The Woman Code: Powerful Keys to Unlock”, “Black Women Redefined”.

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