Kyrie Irving says he embraces ‘all religions’ after criticism from Brooklyn Nets owner

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Irving is a seven-time NBA All-Star
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he embraces “all religions” after club owner Joe Tsai criticised his social media activities.

Tsai said he was “disappointed” that Irving drew attention to a film he said was “full of anti-Semitic disinformation”.

“I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs,” Irving tweeted.

“The ‘anti-Semitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified.”

Tsai said on Friday: “I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.

“This is bigger than basketball.”

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

The NBA said: “Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and runs counter to the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect.

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

Irving, who was unavailable for the Nets for most of last season for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, defended himself against a reporter who claimed he was promoting the film.

“Please stop calling it a promotion,” Irving said. “I put it out there, just like you put things out there. You put things out there for a living, right?

“Don’t dehumanise me up here.”

Before the Nets’ defeat by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, coach Steve Nash said the organisation had spoken to Irving about the issue.

“Clearly, I think we all represent values of inclusiveness and equality, and condemn hate speech,” Nash said.

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