An American basketball star has apologised after he was suspended by his club for sharing antisemitic material on social media.
Kyrie Irving, 30, had been criticised for failing to say sorry sooner for retweeting a link to a documentary that features antisemitic tropes.
His apology came hours after he was suspended without pay for at least five games by his club, the Brooklyn Nets.
In a post on Instagram, Irving said he was “deeply sorry” and took full responsibility “for my actions”, but insisted he still agreed with some of the points made in the film.
He shared a link to the 2018 film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which civil society groups have condemned as antisemitic.
In his apology, Irving accepted that the film “contained some false antisemitic statements, narratives and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish race/religion”.
Before he shared his apology, his club said they were dismayed by his repeated failure in a news conference on Thursday to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs”, adding that he is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets”.
Earlier Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, said he was “disappointed” at Irving’s failure to offer an “unqualified apology”.
Kanye West, the rapper who has been criticised for making antisemitic comments on social media and in interviews, showed his support for Irving, tweeting a picture of the guard on Thursday.
In his Instagram post, Irving said: “I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against antisemitism by apologising for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.
“I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate.”
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Irving added: “To all Jewish families and communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologise.”
On Wednesday, Irving and the club had announced that each would donate $500,000 (£446,223) to anti-hate causes.
It is the second consecutive season the Nets have sidelined Irving.
Last year he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, making him ineligible to play home games.