Hate has no place in this world. And yet, it still fills the air all around us.
The sports world isn’t immune to these dangerous ideologies and in recent years, has even become a place for many to speak up about the dangers that exist in our world.
Recently, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving promoted the film “Hebrews to Negros: Wake Up Black America” on his social media, which has a number of anti-Semitic ideas, including that many Jewish people worship Satan. Additionally, within the film, it suggests that modern day Jewish people stole the religion and the identity from the original Israelites, which led to the enslavement of the African people.
This promotion comes directly after a wave of anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish people from artist Kanye West. When confronted about the post and serious damage his promotion of the film could do, Irving refused to apologize for his actions or retract his support. Irving added that he will not stand down on anything he believes in and that is he is not alone because he has an entire army around him.
Yesterday evening at the Nets game, Jewish people sitting courtside wore “Fight Antisemitism” shirts to go against the conduct that Irving has produced. It was a powerful message from the Brooklyn fans and clearly directed at Irving.
People were courtside at the Nets game wearing "Fight Antisemitism" shirts, this in the wake of Kyrie Irving's recent promotion of an antisemitic film on social media pic.twitter.com/GRCtDDHXCu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 1, 2022
“Did I hurt anybody?” Irving asked. “Did I harm anybody?”
This direct dismissal of the serious nature of his actions shows exactly the dangerous nature of this discourse. The historic relevance of his anti-Semitic promotion tie directly into the harm that Irving can do. Yet Irving, who has declared himself to having an open mind and being the voice of the voiceless is more tone deaf than ever. Anytime anyone presses him about his detrimental ideology, he deflects.
This racist rhetoric being spewed by someone as influential as Irving is harmful and poses an extreme danger to people of the Jewish faith. Antisemitism has been on the rise around the United States of late and this only adds more fuel to the fire. Nets owner Joseph Tsai took to twitter to condemn the ideology being promoted by Irving, but no official punishment is expected to occur. A weak statement from an owner that has the power to do more.
I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 29, 2022
Within the statement issued by the NBA, they didn’t even name Irving for his wrongdoing. This lack of accountability being pushed towards Irving allows him to continue to preach his hateful and harmful discourse without the fear of punishment.
The NBA issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/vuTVhEegeh
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 29, 2022
The strongest message may have come from sports talk host Rich Eisen. Eisen talked about the anti-Semitism being promoted by Irving and what that looks like. It’s worth a listen and shows the dangers of Irving and his actions.
Within a clip of Irving becoming frustrated by the line of questions asked to him by reporter Nick Friedell about his posts is shown. He shows no remorse for his dangerous rhetoric.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) October 31, 2022
Irving has been a controversial figure in recent years but none bigger than the current time. His past actions grant him no wiggle room for any sort of issues. This time it has gone too far and there is no place for this type of behavior within the sports community or the world as a whole.
If Irving can’t see the harm that he has caused and won’t own up to it, then it may be time for both the Nets and the NBA to move on. This is bigger than basketball.