Kyrie Irving Eight games suspended Sunday ended as the star cruised into the Brooklyn Nets game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Irving has not played with the Nets since November 1. The Nets suspended Irving on November 3 following that He tweeted a link to a documentary It contains anti-Semitic messages, followed by an initial refusal to issue an apology.
Since then, Irving has issued multiple apologies, including while available to the media before Sunday’s game.
“I just want to offer my deepest apologies to all those who have been affected over the past few weeks, specifically my Jewish relatives, my black relatives, all races and cultures,” Irving said Sunday. “I feel like we all felt an impact, and I’m not making anything close to hate speech or anti-Semitism or anything ‘anti’ that goes against humankind.”
“I feel it was imperative for me to stand in this place and take responsibility for my actions,” Irving said.
Irving received a standing ovation from the Brooklyn crowd as he introduced the player prior to his report. He finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds in the Nets’ 127-115 win over the Grizzlies.
Irving said after the game that it “felt good” to be back on the court.
“I miss my teammates,” Irving told reporters. “He missed the coaching staff. Just getting ready with them in the morning and carrying on with the game, it felt good.”
When asked if he would file a complaint about his suspension, Irving said he would leave that decision to his legal team.
“I have some very strong people, men and women, around me who are going to do everything I can to make sure that I’m protected and that my family is protected and that we protect each other, so I’m sure that some things will be implemented in the future,” Irving said. “There’s no timetable for that right now.”
Speaking before Sunday’s game, Nets coach Jack Vaughn showed no hesitation about his decision to put Irving on the floor to start the game.
“He’ll start, and we’ll see where his conditioning is, the pace of the game we want to play at. Excited to have him back down to earth with our group, and he’ll be a perfect fit,” said Vaughn.
During an interview Saturday with SNY’s Ian Begley, Irving said he reacted emotionally when he was called an “anti-Semite.”
“I felt I was protecting my personality and my reaction was only out of pure defense and it hit me that I could be labeled, or thought I was being labeled an anti-Semite or an anti-Jew, and I just felt that it was disrespectful for him to ask me whether I was an anti-Semite or not,” Irving said. .
The next Nets game, scheduled for Tuesday, is in the Philadelphia 76ers.
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