Irving was suspended for at least five games earlier this month after he endorsed an antisemitic film on social media.
While speaking to the media, Irving refused to either apologize or condemn antisemitism and clashed with ownership, ignoring messages from Nets owner Joe Tsai.
“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team,” the Nets said in a statement. “Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets. We have decided that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games.”
James Previously Spoke Out on Kyrie Irving’s Situation
James previously spoke on the issue and condemned the comments made by Irving, who he won a championship with in Cleveland.
“It’s simple. Me, personally, I don’t condone any hate to any kinds, any race, to Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand,” James said on November 5. ” … I believe what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people. He has since, over the last — today, or was it yesterday — he apologized. But he caused some harm, and I think it’s unfortunate.
“I don’t stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything. So it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are, what position you’re in — if you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harm people, then I don’t respect it. I don’t condone it.”
Along with his suspension, Nike also suspended its relationship with Irving amid the controversy.
James Believes Conditions for Irvings Return ‘Excessive’
Per The Athletic, Irving has been given “return-to-play” requirements by the Nets, which include: meeting with the media and clearly stating that the film is harmful and untrue and he is sorry for sharing it; complete sensitivity training on the dangers of hate speech; complete sensitivity training specifically about antisemitism; meet with the Anti-Defamation League and leaders from the Jewish community in Brooklyn; donate $500,000 to organizations that combat hate; after completing those steps, meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate that he understands the situation and will not do anything similar this season.
Seemingly out of the blue, James voiced support for Irving via Twitter, citing the conditions put in place as too harsh.
“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play,” James tweeted. “That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”
The Lakers have been linked to Irving via trade multiple times over the last few months. James is dealing with a strained left adductor and the team is looking to find its footing after a 2-9 start to the year.