ATLANTA — More than a week after Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving posted a link on Twitter directing his more than four million followers toward a film that promotes antisemetic themes, CJ McCollum, the New Orleans Pelicans guard who is President of the NBA Player’s Association, implored NBA players to be more mindful of the content they share on social media.
“I think it’s safe to say we know that Kyrie — and all of us, and me specifically — we condemn antisemitism,” McCollum said Saturday. “I am specifically against it. I believe in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. The important thing to learn about this situation is you have a platform. You have to be careful how to use it.”
The film Irving promoted on his Twitter page was called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” One of the false claims the film makes is that the Holocaust never happened.
At a press conference, Irving was asked directly if he held any antisemtic views. Irving said then that he “wouldn’t stand down” on what he believes and declined to say if he held antisemetic beliefs.
McCollum suggested that Irving shared a link to a film that he did not actually watch.
“He reposted something that I’m under the impression that he didn’t watch, that he wasn’t truly aware of what he posted,” McCollum said. “I think that was the situation. I don’t think he came out and said anything antisemitic.”
McCollum added, “You have to be careful about what you post. You have to know exactly what it is, and you have to do your research and educate yourself on all religions, all backgrounds, all races so that you’re comfortable speaking to that. I think it is an unfortunate situation that a lot of people were affected by, a lot of people were harmed by.”
Thursday, the Nets suspended Irving for no less than five games without pay.
“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.
Irving issue an apology hours after he was suspended.
“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote in the Instagram post.
Irving must fulfill six requirements before the Nets reinstate him, according to The Athletic. He must apologize and condemn the movie; donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes; undergo sensitivity training; undergo antisemetic training; meet with Jewish leaders; and meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate understanding.
Irving’s actions have cost him important sponsorships. On Friday, Nike ended its partnership with him. Nike also said it would not issue the Kyrie 8 sneaker, which was supposed to be released Nov. 8.
“You have to vet everything that you post,” McCollum said. I think this is a situation that you can use as a learning experience.”