Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown doubled down on his issue with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai and how he handled the suspension of Kyrie Irving for tweeting a link to a movie that spreads antisemitic disinformation.
Irving was suspended for at least five games over the issue and was reportedly given several benchmarks to hit before he would be allowed to return. Tsai said last week Irving "still had work to do" when it came to returning to the floor, and he has not been on the team’s West Coast road trip.
Brown, one of the vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association, initially called Tsai’s remarks on Irving returning "alarming." He expanded on Monday after the Celtics defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"[Tsai’s] response was alarming to me," Brown said, via the New York Post. "He didn’t say that the organization was working together to get Kyrie back on the floor. He said that [Kyrie] had more work to do. And our society has more work to do, including Joe Tsai. It’s 2022. It takes 10 minutes of time to see who these business owners, corporations etc., who they’re associated with and who they’re doing business with, who they’re affiliated with.
""I’m vice president of the union, and it’s part of my job to protect our players legally. And to see [co-founder and chairman of Nike] Phil Knight first come out and condemn Kyrie, and also see Joe Tsai say he has more work to do, I think it’s time for a larger conversation."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was among those who said they did not believe Irving was antisemitic after a meeting last week. He understood this particular situation was "uncharted territory" and wondered just how long the suspension for Irving was going to be.
"I think you are asking for a need to satisfy the common public, and I’m not sure if that is something that Kyrie is looking to do," Brown added. "I don’t think he meant any harm by posting it. Obviously, it came off as insensitive to a lot of people, but Adam came out with a statement, he doesn’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic. Joe Tsai came out and said a statement that they don’t believe he is antisemitic. Those are their words, so he has already apologized formally through his IG post,
"But the comment that Joe Tsai made, which I feel like bothered a lot of people was like, ‘He has more work to do.’ Like, what does that mean? Our society has more work to do, including Joe Tsai. So I’m curious to know what that is, what that means."
Tsai said last week that it was "clear" to him that Irving does not hold antisemitic beliefs.
Tsai made his fortune in China after founding the company Alibaba and has been criticized for defending some of China's controversial policies which infringe on human rights.
Irving found himself in hot water in October after posting an Amazon link to the film, "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America."
The movie description on Amazon says the film "uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel by proving the true ethnicity of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Sons of Ham, Shem and Japheth. Find out what Islam, Judaism and Christianity has covered up for centuries in regards to the true biblical identity of the so-called ‘Negro’ in this movie packed with tons of research."
Irving later apologized "To All Jewish families and Communities" that were hurt by his post, but only after the Nets handed down the suspension.
Fox News' Joe Morgan contributed to this report