The saying goes, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Nets guard Kyrie Irving may be learning this the hard way after his recent tweet of the link to the documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which has been criticized as anti-semitic. Irving has faced backlash from many including Nets owner Joe Tsai.
His refusal to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film” is not only disappointing to the Nets who have now suspended the 30-year-old but to so many young impressionable kids who look up to him and could be confused about his statements.
Irving’s response to questions posed during an interview with the media earlier today did not clarify his stance. Asked if he had antisemitic beliefs, Irving responded: “I respect all walks of life. I embrace all walks of life. That’s where I sit.” And when urged to answer yes or no, his response added fuel to the fire when he said “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”
This recent issue in conjunction with Kanye West now known as Ye’s recent antisemitic tirade further highlights the need for sportsmen, musicians, and celebrities with platforms to see themselves as “leaders” whether they feel that way or not to take responsibility for their words and actions. It’s never okay to say hurtful words about others no matter what side of the fence you sit on. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
The big question should we take these comments made by these people with platforms seriously?