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Kyrie Irving issues new apology as Nets fans prepare to return

For the second time, Kyrie Irving apologized.

The Nets will welcome back their star point guard. Will their fan base do the same?

After eight missed games and six reported self-improvement tasks he apparently completed, Irving’s suspension appears to be lifted. Irving is scheduled to play Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies, and he issued a second apology on the eve of his return.

“I really want to focus on the harm that I have caused or the impact that I have had within the Jewish community. Posing some kind of threat, or a perceived threat, to the Jewish community,” said said Irving. says SNY Saturday. “I just want to deeply apologize for all my actions throughout the time since the message was first posted. I had plenty of time to think. But my goal initially, if I could start over, would be to heal and repair much of my close relationship with my Jewish parents, brothers, and sisters.

Kyrie Irving issued a second apology on Saturday.
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Irving got his indefinite ban after he shared a film on social media that contained anti-Semitic tropes, including questioning the Holocaust. He initially refused to apologize or state outright that he had no anti-Semitic beliefs, which resulted in the team’s suspension on November 3 and led to a belated first apology from Irving on Instagram.

In January 2021, Nets fans cheered after he returned from a seven-game absence, which he said stemmed from personal reasons. Fans cheered loudly as they hosted Irving last season on March 27, when he played his first game at Barclays Center after missing the entire home roster because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 .

Will Brooklyn fans continue to support a player who over the past few weeks has had to meet several high-profile figures essentially to prove he has no anti-Semitic beliefs?

“I can not imagine [the fan response will] be so bad honestly,” said Doug Bearak, a member of the Brooklyn Brigade — a vocal fan section — and a super fan who rarely misses a game, having watched the loss to the Bulls that preceded Irving’s ban. . “There were boos, but not many. I don’t mean it’s in the middle – I mean more fans are excited to see it.

“There were fans [at the game] who said ‘F–k Kyrie,’” said fellow Brigade member Dawn Risueño, who expects fans to be kinder this time. “I think the majority will probably cheer him on. Most of us don’t boo unless we’re on the other side.

But for Bearak and Risueño, who are both Jewish, the personal decision to support Irving will be more nuanced.

If Irving was trying to inspire conversation by sharing the film, he certainly did. Bearak said there has been a lot of talk about Irving and his actions within his friend groups and family, and that he has “family members who don’t like sports and who are done with him.”

“I still respect him as a player. I still respect him as a philanthropist,” said Bearak, who pointed to Irving’s elusiveness – he shared the film without comment or context, without indicating with what points of view. view he agreed with and denounced – as particularly troubling. “Whether his intent was malicious or not, [he has] an audience so strong that unless [he is] Clearly, it’s hard.

Risueño, 54, grew up in Cobble Hill, where she said it was difficult in the 1970s to be Jewish. The Irving saga — and the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country — remind him of his childhood.

“[Being Jewish] was just something back then that you didn’t talk about a lot because of the era,” Risueño said.

The Nets imposed six steps on Irving, whom they called “unfit” to be associated with the organization, to complete before he could walk the floor again. Irving met with team owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, commissioner Adam Silver and members of the Jewish community.

Those conversations, Irving told SNY, were “a learning journey, to be honest with you.”

“It was a lot of wounds to heal, a lot of conversations to have. And a lot of thinking,” Irving told the outlet.

It’s unclear whether Irving will speak to reporters ahead of the game or address fans directly at Barclays Center. It’s also unclear if members of a Black Hebrew Israelite group, who protested Irving’s suspension, will be back outside the arena. Messages to the group went unanswered.

Kyrie Irving is expected to return to the Nets on Sunday.
Kyrie Irving is expected to return to the Nets on Sunday.
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And most uncertain is Irving’s future with the team, which will have to weigh both his unreliability and his relationship with his fans.

“I don’t support any hate speech, I don’t support racial bias or racial discrimination, and I certainly don’t support any religious hatred against any group,” Irving told SNY. “I don’t want to hurt any community, I just want to bring more light and peace to our world. To do this, you have to go through times that can be [are] stimulating and challenging.

New York Post

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