An emotional Kyrie Irving publicly apologized Sunday morning for promoting an anti-Semitic film and had his team’s suspension lifted by the Nets an hour later.
The lost point guard is finally back, facing Memphis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night.
“I just want to offer my deepest apologies to everyone who has been impacted over the past few weeks, especially my Jewish relatives, my black relatives, all races and cultures,” Irving said. “I feel like we’ve all felt the effects. And I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech or anti-Semitism or anything anti-human.
“I feel like it was necessary for me to stand in that place and take responsibility for my actions because there was a way I should have dealt with all of this. And as I look back and reflect, when I had the opportunity to express my deepest regrets to anyone who felt threatened or hurt by what I posted. That wasn’t my intention at all. I didn’t want to harm anyone, any group of people.”
Irving – who missed the last eight straight games without pay – issued a public apology to Brooklyn GM Sean Marks, agent Shetellia Riley Irving (also his stepmother), NBPA chief executive Tamika Tremaglio and a league representative, all on a morning Shootaround participated.
It was the first time Irving had met the assembled press since a testy post-workout interview on Nov. 3. The All-Star was suspended the next day, not only because of his initial Twitter and Instagram posts promoting the anti-Semitic film, but also his refusal to apologize.
“I mean I was rightfully defensive that there was an assumption that I might be anti-Semitic or that I was planning to release the documentary to go alongside all the views of the documentary that I was initially defensive .” Irving admitted. “How can you call someone an anti-Semite if you don’t know them? How can you make your family aware of things that we don’t have a track record of?
“I don’t have a track record of anything like that. It was human to react that way and I had to give myself some grace and some time to go home and think. And I just started delving deeper into my family and speaking to those who are Jewish and who felt hurt. And then I had some outside calls with other Jewish people. And they got hurt too.”
During this time, the Nets laid down a list of remedial actions Irving needed to do in order to return, including meetings with Jewish leaders.
“Let’s clear the list because I think it was inappropriate in the way it was posted and kind of cornered me like I’m guilty of something, like I’m an anti-Semitic person was, that label was imposed on me,” said Irving.
Still, 30-year-old Irving completed the above tasks to Brooklyn’s satisfaction. After Nets owner Joe Tsai told The Post last weekend that Irving “has more work to do,” Irving gave SNY an apologetic interview on Saturday night and was cleared for the game following Sunday’s public mea culpa.
“Kyrie took charge of his trip and held talks with several members of the Jewish community,” the networks said in a statement. “We are pleased that he is approaching the process in a meaningful way.”