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Kyrie Irving Quits Nike Amid Controversy Over Highlighting Anti-Semitic Movie – Update – Deadline

Kyrie Irving Quits Nike Amid Controversy Over Highlighting Anti-Semitic Movie – Update – Deadline

UPDATED with the latest: On Friday night, Nike became the latest company to distance itself from Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, saying it would “sever our relationship” with the all-star quarterback. The shoe brand also said it would not be moving forward with the launch of its latest line of Irving-branded shoes, the Kyrie 8.

“At Nike, we believe that there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” Nike said in a statement tonight. according to the AP. “To that end, we have made the decision to immediately suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving and will no longer be releasing the Kyrie 8.”

The move came after Irving apologized on Thursday night for the effect of posting a link to a film that espouses debunked anti-Semitic forms. It wasn’t fast enough for the Nets though. who had earlier in the day suspended him for “no fewer than five games” for failing to “state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs”.

Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith opined that Irving’s recent actions were his refusal to be vaccinated in the 2020-2021 season, they cost him a combined $330 million “and beyond.”

PREVIOUSLY, 11:03 AM: They say the third time’s the charm, but it remains to be seen if that’s the case with Kyrie Irving.

After I make two less than contrite statements last week about the impact of posting a link to a film that supports debunked anti-Semitic forms, Brooklyn Nets superstar point guard Kyrie Irving finally used the words “I apologize” and “I am deeply sorry” and directed them “To all Jewish families and communities that have been hurt and affected by my place.” That third statement on the subject was posted overnight on Irving’s Instagram page.

Irving explained, “I initially reacted out of emotion at being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic, rather than focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”

It’s been a series of fallout for Irving since he announced the relationship last week, including statements of conviction from the Anti-Defamation League, the Nets, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA Players Association and numerous others legends of the game. Then last night the Brooklyn team announced that it would be suspension Irving for “no less than five games” without salary.

While Irving finally offered the most basic words of contrition, his previous intransigence has eroded the trust of some around the league, as well as those who were hurt by his words.

“This is an encouraging step from @KyrieIrving“, she wrote ADL President and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Twitter this morning. “But actions speak louder than words. Because of his post and previous refusals to return it, the #anti-semitic the movie/book is now a bestseller in multiple categories on @amazon. There is much more to be done to reverse this damage.”

Greenblatt and his organization issued a joint statement with Irving and the Nets on Wednesday, commenting: “In light of the events of the past week, we commend @BrooklynNets and @KyrieIrving to hear the concerns of all who spoke against #antisemitism.”

But Irving’s unwillingness to give a definitive “Yes” or “No” to yesterday’s question about whether he holds anti-Semitic views threw the whole situation back into chaos, with Greenblatt tweeting: “The answer to the question ‘Do you have anti-Semitic beliefs’ is always an unequivocal ‘NO’ We took @KyrieIrving on his word when he said he would take responsibility, but today he did not fulfill that promise.”

“Kyrie Irving’s career is in trouble,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said. First Take this morning. Smith recently said he couldn’t find any NBA general managers interested in signing Irving to a long-term contract after his contract with the Nets expires this season. (The Nets also did not extend him.) ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said this morning that there is some question as to whether the Nets themselves would want the superstar guard, who averaged 32 points in the first six games of the season, to return after his suspension.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said this morning that Irving will have to sit down with Jewish community leaders and undergo counseling in order to move forward.

League commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he would meet with Irving about his social media post and subsequent comments this week.

Smith estimated that, in salary and endorsements, Irving’s intransigence on his recent actions and his refusal to be vaccinated in the 2020-2021 season, they cost him a combined $330 million “and beyond.”

Here’s the full statement Irving released last night:

While researching YHWH, I released a documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, stories and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish race/religion, and I take full responsibility and accountability for my actions. I am grateful to have a great platform to share knowledge and want to move forward through open dialogue to learn more and grow from it.

To all the Jewish families and communities who were hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain and I apologize. At first, I reacted emotionally to being unfairly labeled an anti-Semite, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clear up any confusion about where I stand in the fight against anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation listing specific beliefs in the Documentary that I agreed with and disagreed with. It was not my intention to disrespect any Jewish cultural history related to the Holocaust or to perpetuate any hatred. I am learning from this unfortunate event and I hope we can find understanding between us. I am no different from any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I am.





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