A contingent of rabbis found themselves compelled to stow away their pro-Jewish signs during the Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks game on Monday. They claim that Kyrie Irving raised objections to security, prompting the removal of the signs.
Rabbi Avremi Zippel, an avid Jazz supporter, and three fellow rabbis strategically secured courtside seats for the game with the intention of sending a message to NBA star Kyrie Irving following his antisemitism controversy in October 2022. In the first quarter, the rabbis displayed signs that read “I’m a Jew and I’m Proud,” which caught Irving’s attention.
According to Zippel, Irving initially responded positively, saying, “Nice, I’m a Jew, too,” but later added, “Don’t gotta bring something like that to the game.” Shortly thereafter, security approached and instructed them to stop holding up the signs, citing a policy against posters in the front row. Zippel alleges that a second staff member later informed them that Irving had complained.
It’s worth noting that Zippel emphasized the signs were not intended as a political statement, avoiding any mention of the situation in Israel. He asserted that he thoroughly reviewed the team’s policies to ensure compliance.
Despite Zippel’s efforts, the Jazz issued a statement asserting that the signs violated the Code of Conduct. The team clarified that the removal was not due to the content of the signs but the disruptive interaction they caused.
“No matter where someone is in the arena, if a sign becomes distracting or sparks an interaction with a player, we will ask them to remove it,” the team explained. “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 signs sparked an interaction with a player that created a distraction and interfered with the play of the game.”
The Jazz insisted that a part-time employee’s claim about the content of the signs being problematic was inaccurate. Zippel, however, remains skeptical, believing the team used policy as a means to downplay the incident.
This incident isn’t the first time Kyrie Irving has faced criticism from fans. Last season, a group of fans wore “Fight Antisemitism” shirts during the Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers game to protest his comments. As of now, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks have not addressed the recent situation.