Nike Cuts Ties With Kyrie Irving; Kyrie 8 launch
WASHINGTON — Nike has cut ties with the company Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving Following controversy over his social media post about the book and film containing anti-Semitic tropes, the company announced Friday night.
Nike also said it would no longer release Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8. The shoe, Irving’s eighth with the company, was set to release on November 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 prepared statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Irving’s contract with Nike was originally set to expire on October 1, 2023. His signature with Nike, which he has had since 2014, is one of Nike’s most lucrative current player streaks in recent years, behind only LeBron James‘ signature series. Irving’s shoes are also among the most worn around the league.
Irving, 30, is suspended by the Nets on Thursday night for at least five games without pay after he did not formally apologize for his position and did not clarify whether he held anti-Semitic beliefs.
Irving apologized in an Instagram post later that evening, writing in part, “To all the Jewish families and communities who were hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused you and I apologize.”
On Friday night, several players wore Kyrie shoes. Going forward, it remains to be seen if Nike will ask current athletes to completely stop wearing the previous Kyrie cleats in games.
ESPN’s Nick DePaula contributed to this report.
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