Kyrie Irving’s insensitivity on social media has affected not only the Brooklyn Nets franchise, but the entire league. Players have spoken out about how they took the news – including LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
James of the Los Angeles Lakers commented on a tweet posted by his former teammate Irving, saying, "I believe, you know, what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people."
"I don't stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform,” James said to reporters on Friday night after a matchup against the Utah Jazz.
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Via Twitter, Durant also denounced hate speech and antisemitism as professed through his desire to “spread love always.” However, the Brooklyn star thinks the franchise could have handled the whole process a bit differently.
“I ain’t here to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their views or anything. I just didn’t like anything that went on,” Durant said on Friday during a shootaround before the Nets-Wizards matchup.
“I felt like it was all unnecessary. I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organization.”
Nonetheless, to settle any controversy that could have risen from his words, Durant followed up on Twitter saying: “Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused. I don’t condone hate speech or anti-semetism (sic), I’m about spreading love always. Our game Unites people and I wanna make sure that’s at the forefront.”
James extended this concern for racism when he spoke about the situation between Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and the Jewish community.
"Because it was some hate conversation going on there and I don't represent that," he said. "Me, personally, I don’t condone any hate to any kind, to any race. To Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand."
And it’s not just athletes who are being affected by the antisemitism and speaking out as a result. Former President Barack Obama referenced the controversy of Irving and West when he spoke at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
“Whether it’s out of malice or ignorance we’ve seen big celebrities posting vile, antisemitic conspiracy theories online. You don’t have to be a student of history to understand how dangerous that is,” said Obama.
Irving has been suspended by the Nets for five games without pay.