The NBA Players Association has issues with the six guidelines Nets guard Kyrie Irving must meet before the team considers lifting his suspension, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said, via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
Irving was suspended for sharing a link to an antisemitic film, available on Amazon Prime. Brown is vice president of the NBPA.
“I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic,” Brown said, via Washburn. “I don’t think people in our governing bodies think he’s antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature. It’s sensitivity to the dialect around that. We don’t want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully the NBA feels the same way.”
As Washburn relayed, the following steps must be completed before the Nets will consider lifting Irving’s ban:
- A meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai.
- A meeting with with Jewish leaders and members of the Anti-Defamation League.
- Sensitivity training.
- Antisemitic training
- A $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes.
- And a public condemnation of the movie for which he shared the link.
Clearly, the union feels as if that’s a bit much.
“There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it,” Brown said, via Washburn. “Some people will argue there’s no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There’s no language in our CBA. There’s no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody, and everybody is trying to figure out the difference between the two.”
Other members of the union discussed the suspension in interviews with The Athletic.
“First of all, we condemn any antisemitism or discrimination of any kind, any kind of hate speech. Kyrie went on his (Instagram) page and apologized. He had a proper apology, in my opinion,” Pelicans guard and executive committee member Garrett Temple said, via The Athletic. “He’s been accountable for his actions. At the end of the day, we’re going to let it take its course. We’re going to make sure everybody knows we don’t stand for any hate speech at all, no matter which way it goes.”
Pelicans guard CJ McCollum is president of the NBPA, and said the union has had a lot of discussion on the Irving situation.
“I know Kyrie personally, I know that he’s not racist, I know that he’s not against any people,” McCollum said, via The Athletic. “In general, he’s been a beacon of light and has continued to figure out ways to provide not only educational opportunities, but also resources for people from all walks of life.”