Time to draw a line with Kyrie Irving. His behavior was no longer eccentric, eccentric, even bizarre – it was dangerous.
On Saturday night, Brooklyn Nets guard Irving refused to take any responsibility for posting a link to a film and book that spread vicious lies about Jews.Instead of apologizing, or just avoiding his problems, he became Aggressive and provocative“I’m not going to give up anything I believe in,” he said.
Then there’s Owen’s scariest statement yet, which says something given his history of spreading conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine hoaxes, and the type of misinformation you might hear on a street-corner megaphone.
“I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone,” Irving said. “I have an entire army around me.”
The militant image came nearly four years ago after 11 Jews were killed by a gunman who invaded Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. The man accused in the shooting was active on social media, often posting anti-Semitic material online.
No, Irving didn’t explicitly call for violence or say he’d go that far. He doesn’t have to.There are too many disturbed people out there Yes Willing to kill, they see themselves as foot soldiers in the army, battling threats that exist only in their own twisted minds. By posting a link to a book that falsely portrays the Jews as the enemy, Irving may provide ammunition for the next killer. Even if there is no bloodshed, when a well-known person preaches the lie that a group, simply because of its ancestors, is inherently evil or dangerous, society as a whole suffers. As black people, we should know this better than anyone.
Irving’s move comes as the Brooklyn Nets start a disastrous 1-5 loss to a season filled with championship aspirations. While Nets forward Kevin Durant denies the situation contributed to the team’s loss, it’s another huge distraction for a player who seems to bring drama wherever he goes.
To be fair, I doubt Owen would say he believed the lies supported in the books and films he published, e.g., “In earlier years, many Jews and European Scottish/York Freemasons claimed that they worshiped Satan or Lucifer. Many famous of senior Jews and Freemasons have written books acknowledging this.” I hope he won’t support lies like “Through control of our money and mass media, European Jews control our minds…” These Just two anti-Semitic bigots in the book, I’m not going to name them. The whole mess is in Rolling Stones Break the article for this story.
I think what Irving is arguing about is his right to post whatever he wants on his social media. “Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anyone? Did I hurt anyone?” he said. In another spat with ESPN reporter Nick Friedell, he denied he was “promoting” anything by posting it.
But posting links to such material does hurt people. It reinforces an ancient ignorance that continues to cause pain to countless people today. Ask the Jewish kids who endured taunts about the Holocaust in school, or the Jewish families whose homes were defaced with swastikas. There are real consequences to exaggerating these lies, but Irving refuses to accept that fact—one of many he denies.
Before that, Irving’s most disturbing departure from science and reason was his refusal to get a coronavirus vaccine.that is dangerous because it Encourage other vaccine opponents And make some people more likely to contract a potentially deadly or debilitating disease. But there is at least one vaccine that most people take to fight the coronavirus. There is no vaccine for paranoia.
It’s also laughable that Irving did not “promote” the material when he posted the link on his Twitter account. The man has 4.5 million followers. His basketball talent gave him a “platform”. Platforms elevate things to greater visibility and prominence. Not only did Irving choose to promote paranoid content on his platform, but he refused to remove it. Tweets linking to the book and film remained on Sunday afternoon.
There are also some lies that should be addressed before we understand how to hold Owen accountable.I heard these crazy remarks from members of Irving’s army on Sunday who responded to one of my social media post:
There’s a lot of truth in that book, why should you focus on something bad?
Because even if that were true, the anti-Semitism of this book is like poison hidden in ice cream.
Why are you asking Kyrie non-basketball related questions?
Because black athletes, including Irving, have historically demanded their opinion on issues outside of athletics. You can’t have the best of both worlds.
Why do you applaud the Jews and let go of the anti-Black rhetoric?
there has never been.
Why don’t you question (choose a billionaire) say (choose a topic)?
Since Irving refuses to take any responsibility for his actions, here’s a suggestion:
The Nets should ask Irving to attend private meetings with people from the team, the NBA, the Anti-Defamation League, a respected black scholar on the history of prejudice and Nike, which is scheduled to release the Kyrie 8 sneakers in November. The aim was to educate Owen – who obviously needed to learn how to do real historical research – why his position was so dangerous. Give him a few days for self-reflection, then ask him to take down posts that incite anti-Semitism. If he agrees, issue a press release saying he has learned from the experience and does not want to discuss it further.
If he refuses, the NBA should consider fining Irving, and Nike should reconsider its relationship with him, much like how Adidas ended its lucrative partnership with rapper Kanye West for his anti-Semitic rhetoric. The league has refused to tolerate racist remarks by former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and fined Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for violations including racist language. The NFL has a policy that allows for disciplinary action for reprehensible personal conduct; so does my own contract with ESPN. Freedom of speech needs to be protected, but not unlimited. Harmful and dangerous speech has consequences.
I recognize the complexities of the relationship between Black Americans and Jews, who are both allies and opponents in their ongoing efforts to overcome white superiority. But we’ve all suffered from the kind of lies promoted by Owen’s post. He should answer that.