NBA analyst and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says he thinks the league “dropped the ball” on Kyrie Irving after the Brooklyn Nets star tweeted a documentary deemed anti-Semitic.

“I think that he [Irving] should have been suspended. I think Adam [Silver, the NBA commissioner] should have suspended him,” Barkley said on TNT on Tuesday ahead of the Nets’ game against the Chicago Bulls, in which Irving featured.

“First of all, Adam is Jewish. You can’t take my 40 million dollars [Irving’s reported salary] and insult my religion.

“You are going to insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say no. You’re not going to take my $40 million and insult my religion. I think the NBA, they made a mistake.

Irving told reporters on Saturday he “won’t give up anything I believe in” after being condemned by Nets owner Joe Tsai, among others, for tweeting a link to the 2018 movie “Hebrews to Negroes.” : Wake Up Black America”. .”

“As for the backlash, it’s 2022, the story is not supposed to be hidden from anyone and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion, I embrace all walks of life,” he said. said Irving.

The film is based on the book of the same name by Ronald Dalton, which has been called anti-Semitic by civil rights groups.

“The book and film it promotes deal with deeply #anti-Semitic themes, including those promoted by the dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)

The NBA released a statement calling the hate speech “unacceptable” and “contrary to the NBA’s values ​​of equality, inclusion and respect.”

“We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring that such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue to work with all members of the NBA community to ensure everyone understands the impact of their words and actions,” the league statement added.

The Nets also said they “strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech”.

When asked why Irving wasn’t disciplined for his tweet, Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters, “I think we’re having these discussions behind the scenes. Honestly, I don’t really want to get into these just yet…I’m really just trying to weigh up exactly what the best course of action is here.

Marks added that the team was having discussions with the ADL. He wouldn’t say if Irving was part of those discussions with the ADL.

Late Wednesday, the Nets, Irving and ADL organization released a joint statement saying that Irving and the Nets will each donate $500,000 “to causes and organizations working to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.” .

Irving said in the statement that he is a “learning from all walks of life” human being and intends to continue learning with an open mind and a willingness to listen. He wrote that he meant no harm to “any group, race or religion of people, and only wished to be a beacon of truth and light”.

“I stand against all forms of hate and oppression and stand firm with communities who are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said in the joint statement released. “I am aware of the negative impact of my position on the Jewish community and take responsibility for it. I do not believe that everything said in the documentary is true or reflects my morals and principles.

In a tumultuous time for the organization, the Nets also announced Tuesday that they have parted ways with head coach Steve Nash.

The announcement came ahead of the Nets’ 108-99 loss to the Bulls for a 2-6 record this season, with Jacque Vaughn named interim head coach.

Marks denied that Nash’s firing had anything to do with Kyrie Irving’s situation.

“No. No. We try to separate the two things,” he said.

“That’s a good question, and it’s easy to lump it all together, but I think for where we are, we’re trying to separate the basketball side and what’s best for the team moving forward.”

ESPN and The Athletic have reported that Brooklyn may hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, but Marks said the team has yet to choose the next coach.

“I really don’t think it’s up to me right now to give a list of candidates who we talk to and where we’re going to land and we’re going to come across that, but I would say I’ll save that for when those decisions will be made,” he added.

“I couldn’t give you a timeline of that,” Marks continued. “There’s a reason we made that move when we did because time is running out. We want this process to be thorough. We’re not going to skip any steps and we’ll do our due diligence like anyone else.

Against the Bulls, Irving started the night 0 for 7 from the field, including going 0 of 4 from three-point range, not scoring his first points until 10:20 into the fourth quarter.

He finished with four points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Zach LaVine recorded 20 of 29 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls to victory.

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