Kyrie Irving says he has Jewish family members, stands by deleting apology post


(JTA) — NBA star Kyrie Irving’s tenure in Brooklyn has come to an end, but the drawn-out saga over his antisemitism scandal apparently has not.

NBA reporter Sam Amick pointed out in a podcast published Tuesday that Irving had deleted his November Instagram post apologizing for sharing an antisemitic film on Twitter.

Irving had been suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for at least five games after he refused to apologize for the post and instead said “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

During a press conference on Tuesday, as a new member of Jewish owner Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks, he was asked about his decision to delete the post.

“I delete things all the time and it’s no disrespect to anyone within the community,” Irving said.

When asked if he stands by the apology, Irving ultimately said yes — after sharing new information about his family.

“I stand by who I am and why I apologized. I did it because I care about my family and I have Jewish members of my family that care for me deeply,” Irving said. “Did the media know that beforehand, when they called me that word — antisemitic? No. Did they know anything about my family? No. Everything was assumed.”

He continued: “I reacted instead of responding emotionally maturely. I didn’t mean to be defensive or go at anybody. I stand by my apology and I stand by my people.”

It is unclear which members of Irving’s family are Jewish, or if the assertion is an expression of the Black Hebrew Israelite ideology promoted in the film he shared, which includes the claim that African Americans are the genealogical descendants of the ancient Israelites.

Such ideology has received increased attention in recent months, as a result of Irving’s controversy and the antisemitic outbursts from Kanye West, the rapper who now goes by Ye.

“I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew,” West tweeted in October.

During Irving’s media appearance Tuesday, a reporter asked if the Jewish members of his family spoke to him about the film he shared, and whether they were hurt by his decision to promote it.

Irving demurred, and restated his oft-repeated line about knowing “where I come from.”

“I’ve had a lot of conversations about world history,” he said. “What was contained in there was contained in there. I didn’t agree with everything. I’ve been up here saying that.”

He continued by again criticizing the media, suggesting that if “specific media members actually cared to do research — instead of being the first to report things — then they would know where I come from.”

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