The Brooklyn Nets are having a pretty dreadful start to the season on and off the court, as they’ve stumbled out to a 2-6 record that saw them fire coach Steve Nash on Tuesday (and then lose to the Bulls later that night).
Their next head coach will reportedly be Ime Udoka, a former Brooklyn assistant who was most recently the Celtics head coach before he was suspended for a year for having an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer (among other things). Hiring Udoka less than two months after he was suspended by the Celtics brings additional scrutiny to the organization that is already trying to put out the fire of Kyrie Irving posting a link to an anti-semitic movie and then getting defensive when pressed about it in a postgame presser over the weekend.
Irving did not speak after the last two games to the media, with GM Sean Marks explaining that the organization was working with the Anti-Defamation League to work on the next steps for both the team and Kyrie. On Wednesday night, we got the result of that in the form of a release from the team featuring a statement from Irving and the announcement that both he and the Nets would be donating $500,000 each to various organizations and causes that aim to “eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
The Nets, Kyrie Irving and the Anti-Defamation League have put out a joint statement saying, in part, that Kyrie Irving and the Nets will each donate $500,000 “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.” pic.twitter.com/AZJEyXQpH1
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 2, 2022
Irving’s written statement here stands in stark contrast to his defiant press conference, noting that he’s aware of the negative impact his post had on the Jewish community and takes responsibility for that. That said, while he says he doesn’t believe “everything said in the documentary is true” there’s a fair question of what things he does agree with. While the Nets and Irving will certainly hope this allows them to move forward, the work has to continue to be done to show there’s been something actually learned from this situation and hopefully the $1 million in donations from the team and Irving can go towards some genuine good.
UPDATE: The ADL announced on Thursday they would not be accepting Irving’s donation, noting how he refused to disavow antisemitism when provided the chance in his press conference earlier in the day — which resulted in him being suspended by the Nets without pay.
The ADL is no longer accepting the $500,000 from Kyrie Irving, per the organization’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
“After watching the debacle of a press conference, it’s clear that Kyrie feels no accountability for his actions. ADL cannot in good conscience accept his donation.”
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) November 4, 2022