NBA players' union expects 'a resolution' to Kyrie Irving's suspension 'very soon'

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has missed four games during his suspension for promoting a film with antisemitic themes. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has missed four games during his suspension for promoting a film with antisemitic themes. (Elsa/Getty Images) (Elsa via Getty Images)

The National Basketball Players Association expects "a resolution" to Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving's suspension "very soon," per a memo sent to its members and obtained by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Irving, a vice president of the players' association, was suspended by the Nets for at least five games last week, when on multiple occasions he "refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material" in a film he promoted to his 4.6 million followers on Twitter. The purported documentary is based on anti-Jewish sentiment, including a fabricated quote from Adolf Hitler.

"Kyrie's rights, and the rights of all future players, have been protected at every turn," the memo said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, met with Irving this week, telling The New York Times they "had a direct and candid conversation," and he has "no doubt" the seven-time All-Star is not antisemitic.

Nets owner Joe Tsai, who was most outspoken in the NBA's initial condemnation of Irving's actions and levied the suspension a week into the controversy, reflected Silver's comments in a pair of tweets on Friday.

"Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday," the billionaire founder of Alibaba wrote of a meeting that also included his wife. "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. The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively towards a process of forgiveness, healing and education."

Newly named Nets coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters on Friday that he has not spoken with Irving since the suspension began. Irving's availability for Brooklyn's four-game West Coast road trip remains uncertain.

Irving platformed the film on Oct. 27 and defended his right to share it in a postgame news conference two days later, implying it contained "the truth of our world." Minutes after Silver issued a statement expressing his disappointment in the 12-year veteran, Irving again met with reporters on Nov. 3 and again refused to apologize or condemn the film's contents, adding, "I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."

Within hours that same day, the Nets issued their suspension, and Irving formally apologized on Instagram.

The Nets outlined a list of requirements for Irving to return to the court. Conditions included a verbal public apology that demonstrates a clear understanding of the film's hurtful contents, consultation with leaders of Brooklyn's Jewish community, sensitivity training and an in-person pledge to Tsai not to perpetuate hate.

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown, also an NBPA vice president, was the first leader in the union to share concerns about what he considered an excessive number of steps required for Irving return to the court.

"The terms for his return, they seem like a lot, and a lot of the players expressed discomfort with the terms," Brown told The Boston Globe on Monday, as Irving missed a third consecutive game for the Nets.

The NBPA intended to appeal the suspension, Brown said.

In a pair of tweets on Thursday, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James called the conditions "excessive," adding, "Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play." It is unclear if Irving has met any parameters set by the Nets, beyond meeting with Tsai for the first time since the controversy began two weeks ago.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach