Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has missed the team’s last seven games after they suspended him for sharing the link to an anti-Semitic film. The Nets are 4-3 during that span. Irving’s suspension was originally slated to be a minimum of five games. But after missing his fifth game against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 12, Nets owner Joe Tsai said the All-Star point guard still had work to do before he could return.
Apparently, the work on Irving’s agenda is complete. According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets star’s suspension is scheduled to be lifted in the coming days, and he could take the floor when Brooklyn takes on Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
“Suspended All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is nearing completion on the process needed for a return to play and could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets as soon as Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Barclays Center,” Wojnarowski wrote on November 16.
“Irving will miss his eighth consecutive game on Thursday night in Portland, but he is closing in on the end of his suspension after nearly two weeks, sources said.”
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NBPA Exec Makes Statement on Kyrie
Although Irving’s suspension came in the wake of his decision to share a film that contained anti-Semitic tropes, it is not the sole reason he got suspended. Kyrie had several opportunities to apologize to anyone he may have offended or, at the very least, condemn the anti-Semitic tropes featured in the film. He chose not to do either.
However, following a suspension that lasted nearly two weeks, the All-Star guard has been focused on “bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding,” According to Tamika Tremaglio, executive of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).
“Kyrie is continuing his journey of dialogue and education. He has been grappling with the full weight of the impact of his voice and actions, particularly in the Jewish community,” Tremaglio said in a statement to ESPN.
“Kyrie rejects antisemitism in any form, and he’s dedicated to bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding. He plans to continue this journey well into the future to ensure that his words and actions align with his pursuit of truth and knowledge.”
Irving ‘Took Ownership’ of Suspension
Initially, in addition to his suspension, the Nets also required Kyrie to complete a list of tasks before being eligible to return. Per NBA insider Shams Charania of “The Athletic”, those tasks included:
– Apologize/condemn the movie
– $500K donation to anti-hate causes
– Sensitivity training
– Antisemitic training
– Meet with ADL, Jewish leaders
– Meet with Joe Tsai to demonstrate understanding
But as Irving navigated through his suspension, the Nets allowed him to “author his own remedies”, making a list that many found egregious, a thing of the past.
“Tremaglio and the union have worked closely with Irving, the Nets, and the NBA in helping him to author his own remedies to end the suspension,” Wojnarowski added.
“What might have started out as a rigid list of prerequisites evolved into Irving himself taking ownership of the process, which is what the Nets and the league hoped would be the case, sources said.”
The Nets have not held a winning record yet this season. With Irving’s return on the horizon, they are hoping that will change sooner than later.