Nike Cuts Ties With Kyrie Irving, Cancels Kyrie 8 Launch

Nike Cuts Ties With Kyrie Irving, Cancels Kyrie 8 Launch


Nike said late Friday it was ending its relationship with NBA star Kyrie Irving, the latest fallout after the basketball player shared an anti-Semitic video on social media and for days refused to apologize or disavow anti-Semitism.

“At Nike, we believe that there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. “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.” According to industry publications, the Kyrie 8 shoe is slated to release this month.

“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” Nike said.

A rebuke from Nike comes a day later The Brooklyn Nets suspended Irving for at least five games without pay, saying he is “not fit to be associated” with the organization at this time after sharing anti-Semitic film “Hebrews to Blacks: Black America Wake Up” on social media. The Nets said Irving will be suspended “until he completes a series of objective corrective measures that address the adverse impact of his conduct.”

“We were dismayed today, when given the opportunity at the media session, that Kyrie refused to state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to acknowledge the specific hate material in the film,” the Nets said in a statement Thursday after Irving’s news conference appearance . “This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the press conference as a “debacle,” adding that the ADL cannot “clear conscience” accept the $500,000 Irving agreed to donate to anti-hate causes the day before.

For days, Irving refused to acknowledge or apologize for his anti-Semitism before writing Instagram late Thursday that he “released a documentary film that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, stories and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish race/religion.”

He said he takes “full responsibility and accountability for my actions,” adding: “To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my position, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you and I apologize.” He said he “initially reacted out of emotion at being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”

Irving has a history of controversy. He was open about his refusal get a coronavirus vaccines and the New York City vaccine mandate. Bad luck led the Nets to it banish Irving more than two months last season. Irving said at the time that “this is not a political thing,” but “about my life and what I choose to do.”

The Nets, overwhelmed by Irving’s controversial behavior and mired in a slow start this season, recently parted ways with coach Steve Nash.

After that comes Irving’s suspension by the Nets and the conflict with Nike Adidas cut ties with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, after he repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments on social media. Experts have warned increasingly brazen anti-Semitism at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence directed at Jews were at their highest level in decades.

Ben Goliver contributed to this report.

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