Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown said on Monday the National Basketball Players Association disagreed with the benchmarks set for Kyrie Irving in order for him to return from his Brooklyn Nets suspension.
Irving was suspended for at least five games until he adequately came to terms with the harm he caused when he tweeted a link to a movie that spread antisemitic misinformation. According to The Athletic, the terms included an apology, a donation of the agreed-upon sum of $500,000 to organizations that fight hate, complete sensitivity training, complete antisemitic/anti-hate training, meet with Anti-Defamation League and Jewish leaders in Brooklyn and meet again with Nets officials, including team owner Joe Tsai.
Brown told the Boston Globe on Monday he did not believe Irving was antisemitic.
"I don't believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic," he told the paper. "I don't think people in our governing bodies think he's antisemitic. He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature.
"We don't want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don't believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. And hopefully the NBA feels the same way."
Brown said the players had "discomfort" with the rules, because the current CBA does not include exact guidelines on punishment regarding social media posts. The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner noted that Adam Silver fined J.R. Smith in the past for previous social media posts. Irving tweeted a screenshot of the synopsis of the movie.
"There is an interesting distinction between what somebody says verbally and what somebody posts as a link on a platform with no description behind it," Brown said. "Some people will argue there's no difference and some people will argue there is a difference. There's no language in our CBA. There's no rules against it. This is uncharted territory for everybody.
"The terms in which he has to fulfill to return, I think not just speaking for me, speaking as a vice president from a lot of our players, we didn't agree with the terms that was required for him to come back, and we're waiting for this Tuesday meeting to happen to see what comes of it."
Brown and Irving are vice presidents of the players union. Irving is set to meet with Silver on Tuesday.
Irving posted an apology on Instagram on Thursday night, hours after he was suspended.