Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyle Irving suspended for apparent anti-Semitic posts on social media
American basketball superstar Kyle Irving has been suspended for five games after appearing to support a film criticised as anti-Semitic and refusing to deny he held any of such beliefs.
While Irving did apologise for the "hurt and pain" his social media posts had caused, he went on to dodge questions about anti-semitism which ultimately led to his club deciding to hand him a ban.
The seven-time NBA all-star caused a stir on Twitter when he shared a link to a 2018 film that has been widely criticised as being anti-Semitic.
While he claimed he is "learning from this unfortunate event" and "took responsibility for the negative impact" his actions have caused, when quizzed directly about the episode he remained evasive.
When asked how he really felt about the Jewish community and whether he held any anti-semitic sentiment personally, he said, "I respect all walks of life. I embrace all walks of life. That's where I sit."
Understandably unsatisfied with that answer given the situation, journalists pressed for more but Irvin stuck to his guns, simply replying that it was impossible for someone with his background to be anti-Semitic.
After the bizarre interview, the club announced its decision to suspend Irving for five games.
"Such failure to disavow anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organisation, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team," the statement added. "Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets," the club said in a statement.
Irving has since clarified his stance in another interview, claiming that his initial response was an emotional overreaction to being accused of being anti-Semitic and that he had "no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history".
Whether or not it will have any impact on his current or future suspensions over this issue remains to be seen.