Kyrie Irving Loses Nike Partnership After Nets Suspension
A day after the Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for promoting an antisemitic film, Nike cut ties with the star basketball player.
In a statement sent to Rolling Stone, the company said:
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8.”
The Kyrie 8, Irving’s eighth official signature shoe with the company, was slated for a Nov. 8 launch, according to industry publications. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” Nike said.
On Thursday, the Nets announced that Irving would be suspended for a minimum of five games without pay because, he “refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge the specific hateful material” in the film he shared with his 4.5 million Twitter followers last week. “This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify,” the statement added.
Hours after the suspension, after a week of refusals and vague comments, Irving finally apologized in an Instagram post later that night: “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. … I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. “
Nets General Manager Sean Marks addressed Irving’s delayed remorse. “There is going to be some remedial steps and measures that have been put in place for him to, obviously, seek some counseling designated by the team,” Marks stated, according to the New York Times. Irving will be required to meet with Jewish leaders and the team before returning to the game.
Marks also added that while Irving’s apology was a “step in the right direction,” it was “certainly not enough.”
On Saturday, The Athletic reported on a six-point plan that Irving must abide by before he’s reinstated from his minimum five-game suspension, including apologizing and condemning the antisemitic film, donating $500,000 to anti-hate causes, taking sensitivity and antisemitism training and sitting down with the ADL, Jewish leaders and Nets owner Joe Tsai.
This story was updated Sunday, Nov. 6 with the Nets’ reported requirements for Irving’s reinstatement.
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