Kyrie Irving and Nets owner Joe Tsai have 'very positive' meeting

Kyrie Irving cropped 11/1/22
Kyrie Irving cropped 11/1/22

The meeting between Nets star Kyrie Irving and team governors Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai was "very positive," two people briefed on the matter told SNY.

Irving remains suspended by the Nets but the meeting between Irving and the Tsais is another element that suggests Irving will be back with the team soon.

Joe Tsai shared details of the meeting in a post on Twitter Friday afternoon.

“Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday. We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group,” Tsai wrote. “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”

One person involved in the conversations between Irving, the Nets, the NBA and NBPA viewed Thursday’s events as "solid momentum" toward Irving’s return to the court.

The Nets suspended Irving for at least five games last week because the team said he failed to disavow antisemitism when speaking to the media about his decision to post a link to a film that contained antisemitic messaging.

“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team,” the Nets said at the time.

Irving issued a public apology via Instagram shortly after the suspension was issued. He met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver earlier this week.

Oct 31, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center.
Oct 31, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center.

Silver said in an interview with the New York Times that his conversation with Irving was "direct" and "candid."

“He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.” Silver later added, “Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

The Nets issued stipulations that Irving must complete before a return to the court. Silver said on Thursday that conversations around those stipulations were ongoing.

The stipulations have been criticized by LeBron James and Jaylen Brown, among others. Brown works with Irving on the NBPA’s executive committee. He said in an interview with the Boston Globe that the Players Association opposed the stipulations.

Among the stipulations in the original suspension: that Irving completes the donation he’d previously committed to in an effort to support anti-hate groups.

Prior to the suspension, Irving and the Nets each donated $500,000 in a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. The funds would be dispersed to groups, including the ADL, that are working to eradicate hate.

The broad plan at the time of the agreement was that Irving, the Nets and the ADL would work in conjunction to determine where best to use the funds.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt announced last Thursday that the ADL would not be accepting Irving’s donation.

It is unclear if the ADL has changed its stance on accepting Irving’s donation. But Greenblatt on Friday applauded Irving, the Tsais and all involved for their "openness and willingness to work toward a positive outcome."

“The Black and Jewish communities have so much in common, it's critical that we come together and heal so that we can stop the spread of hate,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. “All of us at @ADL are ready to engage towards a better future for all.”