LOS ANGELES – Lakers star LeBron James said that Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving “caused some harm to a lot of people” by recently promoting an antisemitic documentary on his Twitter account.
“It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are or what position you’re in,” James said following the Lakers’ 130-116 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday. “If you are promoting, soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harms people, then I don’t respect it. I don’t condone it.”
The Nets suspended Irving for at least five games without pay, beginning with Friday’s win over the Washington Wizards. Nike also suspended its business relationship with Irving.
After the Nets announced Irving’s suspension on Thursday, Irving apologized in an Instagram post. Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters that he considered Irving’s apology “a step in the right direction,” but added he will have to meet with team officials and Jewish leaders before being reinstated on the team.
“I hope he understands that what he said was harmful to a lot of people,” said James, who played with Irving during part of his second stint in Cleveland (2014-2017). “As humans, none of us are perfect. But I hope he understands what he did or the actions he took was harmful to a lot of people.”
James confirmed a recent Andscape report that said his production company declined to air an episode of “The Shop” with rapper Kanye West after he made antisemitic remarks on the show.
“I don’t condone any hate to any kind and to any race – to Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities,” James said.