Kyrie Irving met with the media for the first time since being traded to the Dallas Mavericks and the polarizing point guard discussed his tumultuous relationship with the Brooklyn Nets and the media.
Earlier this season, Irving was suspended by the Nets after he used his social media platforms to promote a 2018 movie titled Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. Based on a 2014 book, the film has been heavily criticized for being filled with gross antisemitic tropes. After being questioned on his decision to promote the controversial film, Irving doubled down and defended the social media posts. He did, however, eventually give in to the backlash, releasing a statement apologizing to Jewish families and communities after receiving his suspension.
Irving has since deleted the apology post, although it’s not known whether that occurred before or after he was traded to Dallas. But during his introductory press conference with the Mavericks, Irving claimed he stands by the apology despite making the decision to delete it from his Instagram account and proceeded to criticize the media for accusing him of antisemitism.
Kyrie on whether he deleted his apology on his IG for originally posting a link to a documentary with anti-Semitic tropes on his Twitter account and saying he does still stand by his apology. pic.twitter.com/SnAm3NpC7o
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) February 7, 2023
“I stand by who I am and why I apologized,” Irving said. “And I did it because I care about my family and I have Jewish members of my family that care for me deeply. Did the media know that beforehand when they called me that word ‘antisemitic?’ No. Did they know anything about me family? No. everything was assumed. Everything was put out before I had anything to say and I reacted instead of responding maturely.
“If the media cared about my family – I’m not saying all the media – but if specific media members actually cared to do research instead of being the first to report things, then they would know where I come from,” Irving added.
Irving has repeatedly blamed the media for his tarnished image, so Tuesday’s statement is relatively on brand. He attempted to play the victim during his antisemitic controversy, claiming the media was out to create clickbait by asking him to address his social media post.
Irving has previously claimed the earth is flat and reposted a video of dangerous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones supporting his claims about secret societies corrupting America. The NBA star also recently shared a clip from “men’s rights” activist Jordan Peterson, outspoken anti-vaxxer John Stockton and controversial sportswriter Jason Whitlock.
These are not media-created narratives, Irving is being judged by what he says and posts publicly. And while he repeatedly claims to love all races and religions, his actions continue to create a different narrative.