The backlash against the 30-year-old Irving began last week, when he posted a link on Twitter to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which promotes several antisemitic tropes. On Saturday, after a loss to the Indiana Pacers, Irving reiterated his support for the film and for an antigovernment conspiracy theory promoted by the Infowars host Alex Jones.
The Nets owner Joe Tsai and Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, were among those who had criticized Irving for the post. Silver, the commissioner, called Irving’s post “reckless” and said that he would meet with Irving soon. But even after Irving announced with the A.D.L. on Wednesday that he would donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes, he spoke to reporters and declined to apologize. He acknowledged that there were some things in the film he did not agree with, although he did not specify what they were.
“Some of the criticism of the Jewish faith and the community, for sure,” Irving said Thursday. “Some points made in there that were unfortunate.”
That was around noon. Over the next 12 hours, the Nets suspended him, saying he was “unfit to be associated” with the team, and Greenblatt said the A.D.L. could not “in good conscience” accept his donation. (The donation announcement had not said that Irving’s funds, or an equal amount from the Nets, would go to the A.D.L. A Nets spokesperson said later that the team and the A.D.L. would work together to decide where the donations would go.)
Representative Yvette Clarke, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn, said in a Twitter post that Irving’s suspension was “long overdue” and that antisemitism “has no place in Brooklyn or anywhere else.”
In response to Irving’s apology, Greenblatt tweeted Friday morning: “Actions speak louder than words. Because of his post and previous refusals to walk it back, the #antisemitic film/book is now a best seller in multiple categories on @amazon. There is a lot more to do to undo this damage.”
On Friday afternoon, the film was ranked No. 1 among documentaries on Amazon, and a complementary book with the same name was top-ranked in the Christian education category.