Kyrie Irving denies rabbi’s claims that he had ‘I’m a Jew and I’m proud’ signs removed from Jazz game

Kyrie Irving is denying claims that he had Jazz arena security make Rabbi Avremi Zippel and three other rabbis get rid of their pro-Jewish signs during Monday night’s game in Utah. 

A public relations representative for Irving told Outkick on Wednesday night that the Mavericks star denied making any sort of complaint and that “there was not a negative interaction as Rabbi Zippel is trying to manufacture.” 

The rep told the outlet that Irving never interacted with Zippel, who had been sitting courtside at the Delta Center for Monday’s Jazz game against the Mavs, and that neither Irving nor Dallas’ sideline asked for the signs to be taken down. 

Furthermore, there was also a denial from Irving’s camp that any member of the Mavericks organization spoke with anyone from the Jazz to complain about the signs, which read: “I’m a Jew and I’m proud.”

Zippel described his side of the story to Outkick. 

“In the tunnel we were engaged in conversation regarding the incident with executives of the Jazz organization, one of whom verified for us that the request for the signs to be taken down originated on the Dallas bench,” Zippel told the outlet. “He went so far as to mention by name the head of the Jazz’s team security, unrelated to arena security, who was made aware of the request from his Dallas counterpart, and subsequently relayed the request to arena security.”

The rabbi, a self-described lifelong Jazz fan, told the Salt Lake City Tribune that he wanted to send a message to Irving after the guard shared a link to a film on his social media accounts that was filled with antisemitic tropes while he was a member of the Nets last year.

Irving was suspended from the Nets, missing eight games last season.

The alleged Monday incident started in the first quarter of the game when Irving went to make an inbounds pass and noticed the sign.

Zippel told the Tribune that Irving looked at the sign and told him “nice, I’m a Jew, too” before showing him his Star of David tattoo. 

A rep for Kyrie Irving denied the claims made by the rabbi. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Zippel said he was annoyed with the comment but kept things cordial.

But that’s when Irving allegedly got upset, according to Zippel. 

“Don’t gotta bring something like that to the game,” Irving said, according to the rabbi.

From there, security approached the rabbis and eventually told them to put the signs away. 

In a statement released Tuesday, the Jazz acknowledged the situation, saying the signs violated the fan code of conduct. 

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving was suspended from the Nets last season. Getty Images

“During an out-of-bounds play in the first quarter of yesterday’s Jazz game against the Dallas Mavericks, there was a group sitting courtside whose sign sparked an interaction with a player that created a distraction and interfered with the play of the game,” the statement read. 

Irving’s rep pointed to the Jazz’s statement in their response to Outkick’s request for comment. 

“It was the arena/Utah Jazz’s protocol to ask the courtside patrons to remove their signs,” the rep said. 

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