NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving offered his most formal apology to date in a video posted Saturday, clearly stating that he is “not anti-Semitic” and that he wanted to offer “deep apologies” for his social media post about a book and film with anti-Semitic ideas.
“I’m not anti-Semitic,” Irving said in the interview with SNY. “I never have been. I have no hatred in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone who identifies as a Jew. I’m not anti-Jewish or anything like that. And it was hard sitting at home with my family while they see all this and have questions.
“The part that wasn’t hard is explaining myself because I know who I am, I know what I represent. But I think the hard part is processing all of this, understanding the power of my voice, the influence I I am nobody’s idol, but I am a human being who wants to make an impact and change. To do that I have to live responsibly and be a bigger example for our youth. For my generation and the older generation.”
Irving is serving a team-imposed suspension that has seen him miss the last eight games, but is listed as doubtful to play against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
Irving was initially suspended on November 3 for the “damaging impact of his conduct” regarding his social media posts.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that Irving could rejoin the Nets on Sunday, as sources said he was nearing completion of the process required for a return.
Irving said he’s had “very moving, very impactful” conversations recently that have given “more perspective” on how his posts hurt people.
“I really want to focus on the hurt I’ve caused or the impact I’ve made within the Jewish community,” Irving told SNY. “Because I gave the Jewish community some form of threat or perceived threat, I want to deeply apologize for all my actions since the post was first posted. I’ve had a lot of time to think, but my focus in first, if I could do it over again, it would be to heal and restore many of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, siblings.
The Nets went 5-3 without Irving in the lineup, but several players hoped after Thursday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that he would be back on the floor on Sunday.
“Being honest with you has been a learning process,” Irving said of the past few weeks. “It was a lot of pain to heal, a lot of conversations to have. And a lot of reflection. And I got the chance to do that with some amazing people from the Jewish community. From the black community, from the white community — I’ve had so many conversations with all of our races and cultures and religious groups of people.
“Just try to get a better perspective on how we live more harmonious lives. I am a man who stands for peace. I do not condone hate speech or prejudice and I do not want to be in a position where I am misunderstood where I stand in terms of anti-Semitism or any hatred for anyone in this world.”