What did LeBron James have to say about the Kyrie Irving antisemitic controversy?
The Lakers star is uncertain whether Irving’s apology will be enough, but if that’s the case, what else can the Nets star do to make ammends?
Having won an NBA Championship with Kyrie Irving, perhaps there isn’t a better person to give insight to the character of the Nets player, than Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
LeBron James weighs in on Kyrie Irving’s antisemitism scandal
In truth, it was only a matter of time before LeBron James was asked for his views on former teammate, Kyrie Irving. In the wake of the antisemitic scandal that Irving has become embroiled in, the Lakers star was asked what he thought. “I believe that what Kyrie did, caused some harm to a lot of people,” James said following the Lakers’ 130-116 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday. James also added, that he could not say why the large majority of the league had not criticized Irving for his role in the situation.
Irving of course, has gone from maintaining that while he appreciated his posting of a link on social media, to an antisemitic documentary had caused harm, he himself was not responsible for its content and as such was not guilty of any wrongdoing. From that point, debate ensued and pressure mounted on both the league and the Nets to take action. Ultimately, Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games without pay and subjected to a list of requirements for his return to the court. For his part, Irving has since issued an official apology, but that didn’t stop Nike from suspending its relationship with him, according to reports on Friday. Interestingly, James acknowledged that doesn’t necessarily remove the damage that was done. “He apologized. But he caused some harm and I think it’s unfortunate,” James said. “But I don’t stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything. So, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are, what position you’re in. If you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harms people, then I don’t respect it. I don’t condone it.”
‘Where I stand’ - LeBron James talks Kanye West, hate and hurt
If it seems like antisemitism has been a hot topic of late, that’s because sadly it has. Just a few weeks ago, artist and entrepreneur Kanye West disgracefully thrust the term into public discussion with a now infamous tweet, in which he directly threatened the Jewish community. West actions, were followed by a swift response from fans, political officials and just about every one of the companies with which he had relations. Incredibly, it was in that climate that Irving chose to post the aforementioned link. Questioned about his own thoughts about antisemitism and his interaction with West, James made his position clear before addressing West.
“I can tell you this, it’s simple. Me personally, I don’t condone any hate to any kind,” James said. “To any race. To Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand.” Where West was concerned, the rapper previously appeared on an episode of the “The Shop” - James’ podcast - in October, but it was never aired. “We kicked that out of the archives. Because it was hate conversation going on there. And I don’t represent that. There’s no place in this world for it,” James said. In keeping with that, James went on to express his hope that his former teammate would learn from the experience. “I hope [Irving] understands what he did and the actions that he took are just harmful to a lot of people,” James said. “I really didn’t get into it too much. But, I understand that when you’re hurting anybody, I understand that. That is just common sense.”
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