NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and phrased their discussion as a productive one.
Irving, of course, has been suspended for a minimum of five games by the Nets for sharing the link to an antisemitic film. He has since taken down the tweet and apologized.
“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver told Sopan Deb of the New York Times. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.”
The Nets reportedly have set out a thorough list of steps for Irving to take before they consider lifting his suspension. The NBA players union has indicated to intends to appeal the conditions of Irving’s return.
“I personally, based on what he said directly to me, have no doubt that he’s not antisemitic, but I think there’s a process that he’s going to now need to go through,” Silver said. “I think he understands that and incidentally, it’s now with the Nets who are working with specifics.”
The process that Irving must complete reportedly consists of the following:
- Issue a verbal apology and condemn the antisemitic film he shared.
- Share that apology on social media.
- Complete sensitivity training.
- Meet with Jewish leaders in the Brooklyn community.
- Meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai.
- Make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes.
Silver would only say that the Nets will determine when Irving can play again “in consultation with the league,” via Deb.
“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information,” James tweeted. “And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn — but he should be playing.”
Silver addressed the backlash to Irving’s stiff penalty by indicating he supported the Nets.
“I feel that we got to the right outcome here in terms of his suspension,” Silver said, via Deb. “And in retrospect, we may have been able to get there faster. I accept that criticism. But I felt it was important to understand the context in which it was posted to understand what discipline was appropriate, not in any way to excuse it but to understand what discipline was appropriate.”