Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who was suspended for at least five games by the team for comments made after he shared a link to an anti-Semitic film on social media, is set to miss his eighth straight game this week.
Thursday’s game in Portland against the Trail Blazers will mark two weeks since the Nets announced they were suspending Irving, saying at the time “he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.” The team did not say when Irving’s suspension might end.
According ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing sources, Irving could return as early as Sunday, when Brooklyn plays at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. CNN reached out to the Nets Wednesday night for comment, but did not immediately respond.
Irving’s posting on Twitter of a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic messages — followed by an initial refusal to apologize — resulted in his suspension on Nov. 3, the Nets said. Irving posted an apology on Instagram hours later.
Nets owner Joe Tsai, who was quick to condemn Irving’s actions early in the controversy, said he met Irving and his family last week and does not think he is anti-Semitic.
“We’ve spent some quality time understanding each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie has no belief in hating Jewish people or any other group,” Tsai said on social media. “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”
Following a meeting with Irving last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he believed Irving was not anti-Semitic.
Silver, who is Jewish, told the New York Times that the two men had “a direct and frank conversation” at the league’s headquarters in New York.
“He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an anti-Semitic word from him or, frankly, any hate directed at any group,” Silver said.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving would have to take “certain steps and corrective measures” for the star to join the team, including meeting with Jewish leaders and undergoing sensitivity training.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Thursday he thought Irving was “really sorry” and was ready to “educate himself.”
“ADL never set the terms for Kyrie’s return,” Greenblatt said in a statement to CNN. “Ultimately, it’s up to the Nets, the NBA and the Union to determine if it’s appropriate for him to return or not.
“I can say from my perspective that I take Kyrie at his word that he is truly sorry and is willing to work to educate himself and engage in constructive dialogue. I am also confident that the Nets, the NBA and the Union are making the right choice and if they are happy, I have no reason not to be.