As an elder statesman in the NBA, LeBron James never fears sharing his opinion.
And that extends to the Kyrie Irving situation, whereas many other NBA stars have kept quiet about him promoting a film called Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. However, while recently speaking to the media, James admitted that Irving’s words rightfully led to a negative impact.
“He caused some harm, and I think it’s unfortunate,” James said in a press conference Friday night. “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.”
Before Irving promoted the film that contained antisemitic ideology, Kanye West made disparaging remarks about the Jewish community and apparently spewed so much hate on an episode of James’ The Shop that the entire episode had to be shelved.
“Part of the reason why I didn’t air The Shop episode, why we kicked that out of the archives,” he said. “Because it was hate conversation going on there. And I don’t represent that. There’s no place in this world for it. Nobody can benefit from that, and I believe what Kyrie did cause some harm to a lot of people.”
Much of the backlash Irving has received is because he refused to apologize explicitly, even after being told his tweet was harmful. However, after getting suspended for five games without pay, he said he was sorry via Instagram. Nike has since suspended its relationship with Irving and axed the upcoming Kyrie 8 release.