Kyrie Irving returns to the Brooklyn Nets after serving an 8-game suspension
By Kyrie Irving Eight-game suspension Sunday ended with the star point guard suiting up for the Brooklyn Nets game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Irving has not played for the Nets since Nov. 1. The Nets suspended Irving on November 3. He tweeted a link to a documentary It contained anti-Semitic messages, followed by an initial refusal to apologize.
Irving has since issued multiple apologies, including during his pregame media availability on Sunday.
“I just want to offer my deepest apologies to those who have been affected in the last few weeks, especially my Jewish relatives, my black relatives, all races and cultures,” Irving said Sunday. “It seems we’ve all felt an impact and I don’t stand for hate speech or anti-Semitism or anything ‘anti’ that goes against the human race.”
“I think it was necessary for me to stand up and be held accountable for my actions,” Irving said.
Irving received a warm welcome from the Brooklyn crowd during player introductions before tip-off. He finished the night with 14 points and 5 rebounds in the Nets’ 127-115 win over the Grizzlies.
After the game, Irving said it “feels good” to be back on the court.
“Missed my teammates,” Irving told reporters. “I miss the coaching staff. Getting ready with them in the morning and taking them to the game, it felt good.”
When asked if he would file a complaint regarding his suspension, Irving said he would leave that decision up to his legal team.
“I have some strong people around me, men and women who are going to do everything possible to keep me safe and my family safe and us safe each other, so I’m sure some things will be done at this point. The future,” Irving said. “There is no timetable now.”
Speaking before Sunday’s game, Nets coach Jack Vaughn showed no hesitation in his decision to put Irving on the floor to start the game.
“He’ll start, and we’ll see where his conditioning is, the pace of play we want to play. We are excited to have him back on the floor with our group, and he will fit right in,” Vaughn said.
During an interview with SNY’s Ian Begley on Saturday, Irving said he reacted emotionally to being called a “hater.”
“I felt that I was defending my character and I just reacted out of pure defense and hurt that I could be labeled, or I thought that I was being labeled as anti-Semitic or anti-Semitic and I felt that was right “To ask if I was anti-Semitic is very disrespectful,” Irving said.
The Nets’ next scheduled game is Tuesday at the Philadelphia 76ers.
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