Kyrie Irving returns to the Brooklyn Nets after an 8-game suspension


Kyrie Irving’s eight-game suspension ended Sunday when star point guard came on for the Brooklyn Nets game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Irving had not played for the Nets since November 1. The Nets suspended Irving on November 3 after he tweeted a link to a documentary with anti-Semitic messages, followed by an initial refusal to apologize.

Irving has since issued multiple apologies, including during his media availability Sunday before the game.

“I just want to offer my deepest apologies to all those who have been impacted over the past few weeks, especially my Jewish relatives, my Black relatives, of all races and cultures,” Irving said Sunday. “I feel like we’ve all felt an impact, and I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech or anti-Semitism, or anything that’s ‘anti’ and directed against humanity.”

“I think it was necessary for me to stand in that place and take responsibility for my actions,” Irving said.

Irving received a warm welcome from the Brooklyn crowd during the pre-tip player introductions. He finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds in the Nets’ 127-115 win over the Grizzlies.

Irving said after the game it “felt good” to be back on the pitch.

“I missed my teammates,” Irving told reporters. “I missed the coaching staff. It felt good to prepare with them in the morning and move on to the game.”

When asked if he would file a complaint about his suspension, Irving said he would let his legal team make that decision.

“I have some strong people around me, men and women, who will do anything to make sure I and my family are safe and we protect each other, so I’m sure some things will be done in the future ‘ said Irving. “There is no timeline for that at the moment.”

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn showed no hesitation about his decision to ground Irving early in the game.

“He’ll start and we’ll see where his condition is, the pace of the game we want to play in. I’m really excited to have him back on the ground with our group and he’ll fit right in,” said Vaughn.

During an interview with SNY’s Ian Begley on Saturday, Irving said he reacted emotionally to being called an “anti-Semite.”

“I felt like I was protecting my character and I was reacting in pure defense and hurting myself that I might be labeled, or I thought I was being labeled anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish and I felt that was fair It’s so disrespectful to ask me whether I’m anti-Semitic or not,” Irving said.

The Nets’ next scheduled game is Tuesday at the Philadelphia 76ers.

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