ATLANTA — New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, who serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association, said Kyrie Irving’s social media post about an anti-Semitic film and the controversy that s What followed can be used as a teaching moment for all players.
McCollum made his first public statements about Irving on Saturday night following the Pelicans’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
“I think the important part was that he apologized,” McCollum said, referring to an apology Irving posted on Instagram hours after he was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets.
“He empathizes now. I think it’s a learning experience in which I don’t think he understood the magnitude of the film because he hasn’t watched it. I don’t think not that he understood the magnitude of the people who were affected, how they were affected, and how quickly hatred can spread and how it can snowball.”
In his apology Thursday night, Irving wrote that the film he posted about “contains false anti-Semitic statements, narratives and language that are false and offensive to the Jewish race/religion,” adding that he takes full responsibility. responsibility for the message. .
“It’s safe to say that we know that Kyrie and all of us — me in particular, I can speak for myself — specifically condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms,” McCollum said. “I’m specifically against it. I specifically believe in promoting equality, diversity, inclusion.”
McCollum said he’s had conversations with the league throughout the process since Irving’s post was posted. He also said he didn’t make a statement about it as president of the NBPA because he was still gathering information, the same way he didn’t. statement about owner Robert Sarver and allegations of racism and misogyny within the Phoenix Suns until Sarver announced he was going to sell the team.
“I had backstage conversations similar to what I have now,” McCollum said. “I talk to the league. I talk to people in power. I talk to people of Jewish background to get more information, more personal knowledge.
“It’s an ongoing situation so I don’t feel comfortable talking about some things yet because I didn’t feel comfortable talking about some things about Sarver because I was still gathering information and that they were always deliberating on what decisions to make.”
As for why players generally haven’t been as open to speaking out against Irving as they were against Sarver, McCollum said he can only speak for himself.
“I can’t talk about player reactions and what players do in their free time,” he said.
McCollum also said Irving’s post could teach players the power of social media, where they have thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers like Irving.
“The important thing to learn about this situation is that you have a platform. You have to be careful how you use it,” he said. “You have to check everything you post. I think this is a situation that we can all use as a learning experience for all of us as players. … You have to be careful what you post.
“You have to know exactly what it is, and you have to research and educate yourself about all religions, all backgrounds and all races in order to be comfortable talking about it. I think it’s a situation unfortunate where a lot of people were affected and a lot of people were hurt by that. It was difficult.
With Irving apologizing and his suspension handed down, McCollum said everyone can start moving in the right direction.
“First of all, it’s important to condemn anti-Semitism,” McCollum said. “I believe in social justice, not just for black people but for everyone. It’s a matter of social justice. It’s a social justice situation that continues to be addressed. I think now we’re heading towards an appropriate resolution.”