NBA

Nash says Nets must 'grow through' Kyrie Irving controversy as fans stage courtside protest

By Sports Desk November 01, 2022

Steve Nash said the Brooklyn Nets should look to "grow through this together" after a number of fans wore 'Fight Antisemitism' T-shirts in protest against Kyrie Irving's recent highlighting of a controversial film.

The 30-year-old Irving tweeted a link to 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' last Thursday, with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai condemning Irving for promoting the documentary film. Tsai alleged the film was "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

The Nets and NBA released strong statements refusing to tolerate "hate speech", while coach Nash said the star guard had been spoken to prior to Saturday's 125-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Irving said at the weekend he would not "stand down" and pointed to the "historical complexities" of African heritage in America, but he subsequently deleted the social media post that sparked the uproar.

Nash spoke again on the matter after Monday's 116-109 win against the Pacers, which saw a group of seven Nets fans conspicuous at courtside in the protest T-shirts.

They were Orthodox Jews, the New York Post reported, quoting one of the fans, Aaron Jungreis, as saying the Nets "should not keep a guy like that around", with regard to Irving. The fan also told the newspaper the Nets should "have to discipline him in some way".

Looking at how Irving has handled the episode, Nash said: "That's an ongoing conversation. I haven't been a part of those internal talks, to be honest. I've been coaching, preparing the team. But I know they're looking at that constantly."

Erasing the controversial social media content appears to have been taken as a positive step, with Nash saying that "certainly helps".

The Nets coach added: "I just hope that we all grow through this together. There's always an opportunity for us to grow and understand new perspectives.

"I think the organisation is trying to take that stance that we communicate through this and all come out in a better position with more understanding and wanting to have empathy for every side of this debate and situation."

Irving last week wrote on Twitter: "I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs. The 'Anti-Semitic' label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions."

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