Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is set to return to the court on Sunday, marking the end of his suspension from the team for anti-Semitic behavior.
The seven-time All-Star will return to the Nets during match against the Memphis Grizzlies in Brooklyn. Irving was eligible to return against the Lakers on November 13.
On Sunday, the Nets listed Irving as available to play at 7:00 pm ET. He addressed reporters in Brooklyn with NBA officials, with Nets general manager Sean Marks in the room while he made the comments.
“I don’t support anything close to hate speech, anti-Semitism, or anything that goes against humanity,” said Irving, who initially defended himself when he was criticized for promoting From Jews to Blacks: Awaken Black America. on Twitter. “I feel that we should all be able to speak up for ourselves when we are being suggested and I feel it was necessary for me to stand in that place and take responsibility for my actions because there was a way I had to deal with all of that, and when I look back and reflect, when I had the opportunity to express my deepest regrets to anyone who felt threatened or offended by what I posted, that was not my intention at all.”
The Nets, who called him “unfit” for the team following his suspension, praised him on Sunday.
“Kyrie took responsibility for this journey and spoke with several members of the Jewish community,” the team said in a statement. “We’re glad he’s approaching the process in a meaningful way.”
The Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 3 for at least five games without pay. for his failure to recant antisemitism and denounce Jew Negroes: Wake Up Black America. Among other things, he promoted a film containing Holocaust denial on his Twitter feed. The organization said that Irving would be removed from office “until he has implemented a set of objective remedial measures to address the detrimental effects of his conduct.”
One of the goals was to meet Brooklyn owner Joe Tsai and his wife Clara. After the meeting, Tsai said, “Kyrie has no hatred towards Jews or any group.” Irving also met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who mirrored Tsai’s sentiments by saying that he had “no doubt” that Irving was not an anti-Semite. The Nets did not require Irving to meet Silver as punishment, but Silver has publicly and privately stated that he does not consider Irving an anti-Semite.
Brooklyn’s step-by-step plan to rebuild Irving also included him apology and condemnation of the filma $500,000 donation to fight hate, sensitivity and antisemitic training, in addition to meeting with Jewish leadersaccording to SB Nation.
lakers star LeBron James called the Nets’ demands “excessive.” adding that Irving “should play” after he apologized for sharing offensive information. Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown, who serves as vice president of the NBPA along with Irving, told reporters. Boston Globe that “players expressed dissatisfaction with the terms” of Irving’s return.
Irving apologized to the Jewish community and to those who were “hurt by the hateful remarks made in the documentary.” On Instagram, he wrote that he was “deeply sorry for hurting you.”
Saturday, the day before his return, he made another apology, this time on camera.
“I really want to focus on the pain I caused or the impact I had on the Jewish community. Put some kind of threat or perceived threat to the Jewish community,” Irving told SportsNet New York on Saturday.
The Nets went 5-3 during Irving’s suspension and are 7-9 this season.
Irving will also return to new management after Jacque Vaughn was named head coach of Brooklyn after Steve Nash was fired.
This isn’t the first time the Nets have been without Irving for a long time. He played just 29 games last season after being ruled ineligible to play most of the season due to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Contribute: Associated Press
Follow Sidney Henderson on Twitter @SidHenderson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kyrie Irving returns to Nets after suspension for anti-Semitic behavior