Fact Check

Tweet Saying Nets 'Officially Released Kyrie Irving' Is Satire

Irving had previously drawn criticism for tweeting a link to the film "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," The Associated Press reported.

Published Nov 3, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets brings the ball up the court during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on November 01, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Image Via Dustin Satloff/Getty Images
Claim:
The Brooklyn Nets released Kyrie Irving from the NBA team on Nov. 3, 2022.

On Nov. 3, 2022, the Ballsack Sports Twitter account tweeted to its more than 215,000 followers, "The Nets have officially released Kyrie Irving." However, the Brooklyn Nets had not, in fact, released the NBA player (though after our original story posted he was suspended). Ballsack Sports' Twitter bio says that it publishes parody and satire.

The parody and satire Twitter account Ballsack Sports tweeted that the Nets have officially released Kyrie Irving.

Despite the Twitter account's disclaimer and humorous name, we still found users who appeared to believe the Ballsack News tweet was a genuine announcement. One user asked, "Yooooo is this real?" Another person posted in a quote tweet, "Wow just gone release the man." A third example we found read, "Is that true? Attribution?" Additional examples can be found in the original tweet's replies and retweets.

Our former colleague Dan Evon, who now works for the News Literacy Project, tweeted, "This is bound to escape the confines of its satirical bubble as people search for Kyrie Irving news."

Evon was right.

A search of Facebook for public-facing posts that included the text from the satirical tweet showed that it was being shared as a screenshot as if it was genuine news.

The parody and satire Twitter account Ballsack Sports tweeted that the Nets have officially released Kyrie Irving.

The context for the satirical tweet was that Irving had recently said in a statement that took responsibility for one of his own tweets that he posted in the previous week.

According to The Associated Press, Irving's previous tweet (archived) appeared to show support for the film "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America." It was later deleted.

Kyrie Irving tweeted a link to the film, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.

The AP's reporting called the film "an antisemitic work."

Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he opposes all forms of hate, and he and the Brooklyn Nets will each donate $500,000 toward groups that work to eradicate it.

While not explicitly apologizing, Irving took responsibility for the negative impact on the Jewish community that was caused by his appearing to support an antisemitic work, as the Nets and their star guard worked to sooth the anger that had been directed at them since Irving's Twitter post and refusal to apologize for it.

"I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day," Irving said in a joint statement with the Nets and Anti-Defamation League. "I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also published an article about the film, saying that it included "extensive antisemitism."

After this story was published, ABC News reported that the Nets had suspended Irving without pay. However, he was not released from the team.

Sources:

@BallsackSports. Twitter, 3 Nov. 2022, https://twitter.com/ballsacksports/status/1588218017091289088/.

Deliso, Meredith. "Brooklyn Nets Suspend Kyrie Irving for Failing to 'Disavow Antisemitism.'" ABC News, 3 Nov. 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/brooklyn-nets-suspend-kyrie-irving-failing-disavow-antisemitism/story?id=92634035.

Evon, Dan. Twitter, 3 Nov. 2022, https://twitter.com/danieljevon/status/1588279545115074560.

"Hebrews to Negroes: What You Need to Know." Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 3 Nov. 2022, https://www.adl.org/resources/blog/hebrews-negroes-what-you-need-know.

Mahoney, Brian. "Irving Says He Embraces All Religions, Defends Right to Post." The Associated Press, 29 Oct. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/brooklyn-nets-nba-sports-82152b5992a02d806760bd15e070433e.

---. "Irving Takes Responsibility for Tweet, Will Donate $500,000." The Associated Press, 2 Nov. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/brooklyn-nets-nba-sports-race-and-ethnicity-f88c6abbed49931ac9d1c8defefce13d.

Updates

Nov. 3, 2022: After this story was published, ABC News reported that the Nets had suspended Irving without pay for promoting the film. However, he was not released from the team.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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