Former Nets coach Amar'e Stoudemire on Kyrie Irving: 'You made a mistake, so apologize for it'
Amar'e Stoudemire was part of the Brooklyn Nets the last time controversy engulfed Kyrie Irving. Now, he has some advice for the embattled point guard.
During an appearance on ESPN's "Get Up" on Wednesday, the former NBA All-Star who spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Nets said that Irving needs to apologize after sharing a documentary containing antisemitic conspiracy theories and falsehoods on Twitter.
“You have to give an apology because if you’re going to promote a documentary that has false allegations inside of it, and you may not understand that these allegations that’s inside the documentary are false, OK you made a mistake, right? So apologize for it."
“And so I think that’s the issue. By not apologizing for that, [that's] an issue the NBA’s going to probably take a look at.”
Stoudemire converted to Judaism in 2020 and has been granted Israeli citizenship, but had previously believed in the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that forms the basis of some of the statements Irving has been criticized for.
Irving combatively defended the tweet after a game Saturday night as well as a past sharing of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but deleted the tweet containing the link to the documentary on Sunday night.
Later on Wednesday, the Nets released a statement containing a quote from Irving in which he said he takes responsibility for "the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community," while also claiming to not believe everything in the documentary was true. The Nets said they and Irving would each donate $500,000 to "causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities."
At no point in the statement did Irving specifically apologize.
Before that happened, Stoudemire didn't say Irving should be suspended when asked, but said the NBA should at least consider it:
"Well, I think something has to happen, whether it's an intensive conversation with the Commissioner about what he’s doing and what his plans are as a basketball player. So I think that conversation has to happen. As far as (suspension and these things), I’m not sure how that’s going to play out.
“I mean, Kyrie’s a guy who’s trying to find himself. He’s always on this quest for learning and knowledge and information. And if you’re not totally factual or understanding what you’re learning and what you’re trying to promote, then just don’t promote it. Just learn quietly and try to figure it out. But once you start putting information out there that’s not true, then now it creates a problem.”
Stoudemire, who also had words for Irving's vaccine-related absences when he resigned from his Nets job, is far from the only person to criticize Irving for his behavior, and not the only former NBA star either.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal both took aim at Irving during TNT's "Inside the NBA" show on Tuesday, with both calling the guard an "idiot." Barkley questioned why Irving had not been suspended, noting the past precedent of former Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard, who was suspended indefinitely after saying an antisemitic slur during a Twitch stream.