Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted on Saturday that he ‘means no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs’ after his NBA team owner condemned him for tweeting a link to a documentary deemed anti-Semitic .
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to be supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation,” the Nets owner said. Joe Tsai wrote on Twitter Friday night.
“I want to sit down and make sure he understands that it hurts us all and that as a man of faith it is wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
Tsai added, “It’s bigger than basketball.”
Irving wrote in a tweet on Saturday“I’m an OMNIST and I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone’s religious beliefs. The label “anti-Semitic” that is imposed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or the truth in which I live on a daily basis. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and all religions.
An omnist is someone who believes in all religions.
The star guard tweeted a link Thursday to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. Rolling Stone described the book and film as “full of anti-Semitic tropes”.
Irving has made controversial statements and decisions in the past, including missing most of his team’s games last season because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in a tweet Irving’s social media post on Friday was called “disturbing.”
“The book and film it promotes deal with deeply #anti-Semitic themes, including those promoted by dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement. Irving should clarify now.
The Nets also spoke out against the star guard’s tweet.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have zero tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the team said in a statement to CNN.
“We believe that in these situations, our first action should be open and honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who have supported us during this time.
Before the team’s game on Saturday night, Nets head coach Steve Nash said he was aware of statements made on the matter by Irving and the team.
“The organization spoke to Kyrie about it,” Nash said. “Obviously I think we all stand for values of inclusivity and equality, and condemn hate speech.”
The NBA released a statement saying, “Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and goes against the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect. We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring that such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue to work with all members of the NBA community to ensure everyone understands the impact of their words and actions.
Rolling Stone said the film and book included ideas consistent with certain “extreme factions” within the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that have expressed anti-Semitic and discriminatory sentiments.
“Black blacks of ‘Bantu’ descent in the Diaspora and in sub-Saharan Africa cannot be called ‘anti-Semites’ because we are the true Israelites of the ethnic lineage of the Bible,” author Dalton said in a statement emailed to CNN. “If Kyrie Irving or any black celebrity needs ‘support’ to prove we are the True Israelites…I am available to help them on or off camera so the world can finally see and receive the TRUTH.”