Brooklyn had got into the habit, last season, of having to do without Kyrie Irving (29 games played out of 82). This time it won’t be for his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19. It is a choice of the franchise, which announced Thursday that it was suspending its point guard (1.88 m, 30 years old) for ” at least “ five matches, without pay.
A statement that sounds like an ultimatum for Irving, in turmoil for a week for having promoted, on its networks, a documentary film dating from 2018, with anti-Semitic content. The player has since deleted his tweet and pledged to donate $500,000 – jointly with the Nets, contributing an equivalent sum – in favor of associations fighting against all forms of discrimination. Insufficient for the Nets, whose press release fell after a new press session during which Irving neither made an apology nor took a clear position on the question of anti-Semitism. The trigger.
“We are appalled”
“We are appalled that despite the new opportunity presented to him today, Kyrie has refused to state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, the New York organization said in a statement. We don’t understand why he doesn’t even recognize the presence of specifically hateful passages in the film we’re talking about. It is deeply embarrassing, goes against the values of our organization and constitutes behavior that undermines the integrity of our team and this candor. »
In his recent interventions following this case, Irving had “assumed” (“take responsibility”) his choice to relay a message about the documentary, claiming to oppose “to all forms of hatred and oppression”. “I am aware of the negative impact of my messages with regard to the Jewish community and I accept responsibility for it,” he said in the press release announcing his donation, without disavowing the content of his messages or the controversial passages of the film. NBA boss Adam Silver said he intends to meet with the player to discuss the matter directly with him.
A return under “conditions”
When will Irving return to training? It remains unclear at this time. Brooklyn, in its text, announces a series of ” terms “ (“measurements”), without detailing the nature of these. The Nets’ next game, who separated a few days ago from their trainer Steve Nash, takes place in the night from Friday to Saturday in Washington. If the sanction was limited to five games, Irving would make his return on November 13 against the Lakers in Los Angeles.