Kyrie Irving has been suspended indefinitely by the Brooklyn Nets, but for a minimum of five games, in light of the All-Star's unapologetic response to the widespread backlash for allegedly endorsing an antisemitic film.
Irving spoke to the media on Thursday for the first time since a controversial press conference on Saturday after last week sharing a social media post about a book and film leading to condemnation, including from the franchise owner Joe Tsai who said it was "full of antisemitic disinformation".
The 2016 NBA champion on Thursday stopped short of apologising for the social media post, instead speaking with ambiguity when directly asked if he had any antisemitic beliefs.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was disappointed Irving had "not offered an unqualified apology" for his "reckless" social media post.
Irving and the Nets had on Wednesday each donated $500,000 towards causes and organisations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.
But after Thursday's press conference, the Nets moved to suspend Irving for a minimum of five games and without pay, having been left "dismayed" by his latest comments.
"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."
Nets statement pic.twitter.com/8movfKNRdT— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 3, 2022
Irving had said he had take responsibility for sharing the social media post, that has since been deleted, but ultimately stood his ground again.
"I didn't mean to cause any harm," Irving said. "I'm not the one that made the documentary.
"Again, I'm going to repeat. I don't know how the label becomes justified because you guys ask me the same questions over and over again 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... I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."