Irving Controversy: Fans Wear ‘Fight Antisemitism’ Shirts

Fans wearing "Fight Antisemitism" shirts sat courtside at Monday's NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers in New York City in response to controversial tweets from Nets star Kyrie Irving.

Irving Controversy: Fans Wear ‘Fight Antisemitism’ Shirts
Image credit: AP Photos [via AP News]

Facts

  • Fans wearing "Fight Antisemitism" shirts sat courtside at Monday's NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers in New York City in response to controversial tweets from Nets star Kyrie Irving.
  • Irving, 30, tweeted a link to the movie "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America" last Thursday — a film based on a book containing several anti-Semitic tropes. Its synopsis on Amazon says it "uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel."
  • In a postgame press conference Saturday, Irving said: "I'm not a divisive person when it comes to religion. I embrace all walks of life." However, he continued: "I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me."
  • Irving then deleted the tweet amid criticism, including from Nets owner Joe Tsai, the Anti-Defamation League, and a statement from the NBA denouncing all forms of hate speech.
  • Amid the controversy, the Nets dismissed their head coach, Steve Nash, on Tuesday, citing an "evaluation of how the season has begun."

Sources: Associated Press, Guardian, and Forbes.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by CBS. Irving is arguably one of the greatest talents the NBA has ever seen. However, this latest incident, among a barrage of other off-court ravings, is unacceptable. Racism and bigotry shouldn't be tolerated in any business of repute in America — including the NBA.
  • Narrative B, as provided by NetsDaily. While Irving's post was unquestionably insensitive, it wasn't meant to be a promotion of racism or hate speech. Rather than denouncing him as a racist, as the media has been quick to do, this incident would better serve as an opportunity for him and the Nets organization to learn, grow, and move on.