A group of fans sat courtside at Monday's Nets-Pacers game in Brooklyn wearing T-shirts reading "Fight antisemitism." Men in the group wore yarmulkes, as is customary in some Jewish communities.
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) November 1, 2022
The display is an apparent response to Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who recently promoted an antisemitic movie on his Twitter account.
In his last meeting with media on Saturday, Irving stood by his tweet and was combative with reporters when asked about it.
"I can post whatever I want," Irving said when asked by ESPN's Nick Friedell why he promoted the movie on his social media.
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) October 30, 2022
The Nets declined to make Irving available to media after Monday's game, a 116-109 Nets win.
Kyrie Irving will not be made available tonight. #nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) November 1, 2022
Rolling Stone reports that the movie Irving shared promotes tropes and "ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially antisemitism.”
Prior to his Saturday news conference, Irving denied "the 'Anti-Semitic' label that is being pushed on me" in a separate Twitter post.
I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs. The “Anti-Semitic” label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.
— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) October 29, 2022
Irving posted the initial Twitter link to the movie on Thursday. The tweet remained live through his Saturday news conference and into Sunday. By Monday, Irving had deleted it. His tweet drew condemnation from Nets owner Joseph Tsai and the NBA.
Tsai wrote on Twitter on Thursday the he is "disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation."
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
The Nets released a separate statement that they" strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech."
The NBA then released a statement on Sunday that "Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and runs counter to the NBA's values of equality, inclusion and respect."
The NBA issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/vuTVhEegeh
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 29, 2022
Irving published his tweet amid the backlash to Kanye West's antisemitic messaging that's resulted in companies and individuals cutting professional ties with the rapper. Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald parted with West's Donda Sports agency after Adidas disassociated itself from West and his Yeezy line of sneakers amid mounting public pressure.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is Jewish, co-sponsored a TV ad in response to the spate of antisemitic messaging urging viewers to "Stand up to Jewish Hate." The ads ran during Sunday's NFL games.