New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, who serves as the president of the National Basketball Players Association, said Kyrie Irving's social media post about an antisemitic film and the controversy that ensued can be used as a teaching moment for all players.
McCollum made his first public statements on Irving on Saturday night following the Pelicans' loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
"I think the important part was he did apologize," McCollum said, referencing the apology Irving posted on Instagram hours after he was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets.
"He's displayed empathy now. I think this is a learning experience in which I don't think he understood the magnitude of the movie because he didn't watch it. I don't think he understood the magnitude of the people that were affected, how they were impacted and how fast hate can spread and how this can snowball."
In his apology Thursday night, Irving wrote that the movie he had posted about "contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion," adding that he took full responsibility for the post.