The Brooklyn Nets announced Thursday they have suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay after the guard’s repeated refusal to apologize for social media posts linking to an antisemitic film.

Despite a statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver less than an hour prior voicing disappointment that Irving had not apologized, the Nets guard once again failed to do so in a press conference Thursday. The team released a statement hours later, saying Irving is “unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets”.

“Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate,” the Nets said in the statement. “We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.”

“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”

Irving first refused to apologize in a postgame press conference Saturday, defending his posts before getting into a heated altercation with ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

The film Irving posted, Hebrews To Negroes: Wake Up Black America, endorses several antisemitic tropes. Those include the assertion that Jews have “used five major falsehoods” to “conceal their nature and protect their status and power.” Among those falsehoods is that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.

It later quotes “Adolph Hitler” before attributing a fake quote about Jewish control over society to Harold Rosenthal. The fabricated quote was used in a book by documented antisemite Walter White Jr., who made up the interview with Rosenthal in the 1970’s in an attempt to push antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Irving said he “takes responsibility” for spreading the “unfortunate falsehoods” of the film, but refused to apologize when given the opportunity Thursday.

“I didn’t mean to cause any harm. I’m not the one that made the documentary,” he said.

The Nets guard later questioned the “label” being pushed on him by the media when asked if he has any antisemitic views.

“I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you guys ask me the same questions over and over again,” he said. “But this is not going to turn into a spin-around cycle. Questions upon questions. I told you guys how I felt. I respect all walks of life and embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit.”

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When pressed for a yes-or-no response, Irving would not say no.

“I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” he said.

Irving’s actions over the last week drew an uproar in response, including several statements from the Nets and their owner Joe Tsai, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, NBA league office, NBPA, Adam Silver and more. A group of Jewish Nets fans, some of which were season ticket holders, sat courtside wearing “Fight Antisemitism” shirts during Brooklyn’s game against Indiana Monday.

The Nets ultimately decided enough was enough. The team announced Irving’s suspension will remain until the 30-year-old “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.” Given the minimum five-game timeframe, the earliest Irving will be eligible to return is Nov. 13th when the Nets face the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Brooklyn addressed the controversy Wednesday in a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League, announcing the team and Irving would each donate $500,000 toward “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities”.

Following the team’s announcement of the suspension Thursday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt voiced his approval in a Tweet, calling the suspension “well deserved” before saying the organization cannot accept Irving’s donation.

“Kyrie Irving has been given ample opportunity to do the right thing, apologize and condemn antisemitism. He has failed at almost every step along the way. This suspension is well-deserved,” Greenblatt said. “We were optimistic but after watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions. The Anti-Defamation League cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”

Brooklyn finds itself in controversy surrounding Irving for the third-straight year.  The guard took a pair of extended absences during the 2020-21 season. The team was then forced to suspend the seven-time All-Star indefinitely last season while he refused to comply with New York’s workplace vaccine mandate. All of this led to the Nets’ refusal to offer Irving a fully-guaranteed, long-term contract this offseason.

The Nets will now suspend Irving for the second straight year.

Brooklyn is off to a lethargic 2-6 start amidst the non-stop drama surrounding Irving, as well as the dismissal of head coach Steve Nash. The team travels for a three-game road trip this weekend into Monday with stops in Washington, Charlotte and Dallas.