Nike kicks Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving over anti-Semitism | Brooklyn Nets

Nike kicks Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving over anti-Semitism | Brooklyn Nets

Nike has ended its relationship with Kyrie Irving and canceled plans to release his next signature shoe, the latest chapter in the ongoing fallout from Brooklyn Nets the guard tweeted a link to a film containing anti-Semitic material.

The shoe giant announced Friday night that it would end its relationship with Irving, who was suspended by the Nets for what the team said was his repeated failure to “unequivocally state that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs.”

The Nets made the move Thursday, suspending Irving without pay for at least five games, and a day later, Nike made his decision. Those actions followed widespread criticism — from the Anti-Defamation League and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, among many others.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said. “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.”

Irving has had a signature line with Nike since 2014.

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

Irving signed with Nike in 2011, shortly after becoming the No. 1 pick that year. NBA draft. Irving’s first signature shoe was released three years later, and the popularity of the Kyrie line led to him earning $11 million a year from Nike endorsements alone.

The Kyrie 8 was expected to release next week. Previous models of his shoes were still on sale on Nike’s website Friday night.

Irving posted a tweet last week — which has since been deleted — with a link to the documentary “Jews to Blacks: Black America Awakens,” which includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews. In a contentious postgame interview last Saturday, Irving defended his right to announce what he wanted.

From there, the rainfall just continued. The NBA issued a statement over the weekend that did not name Irving, but condemned all forms of hate speech. Fans wearing “Fight Anti-Semitism” T-shirts took some seats on the field at the Brooklyn-Indians game Monday night, a day after he took down the tweet. The Nets and coach Steve Nash parted ways on Tuesday, a development overshadowed by the Irving saga.

Irving said Wednesday that he opposes all forms of hate, and he and the Nets announced they would each donate $500,000 to groups working to eradicate it. Silver then issued a new statement calling on Irving by name to apologize, and Irving declined to give a direct answer when asked Thursday if he held anti-Semitic beliefs.

That, apparently, was the last straw for the Nets, who suspended him. Hours later, Irving posted an apology on Instagram for not explaining the specific beliefs he agreed with and disagreed with when he released the documentary.

“To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “Initially, 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.”

A day later, Nike – which had also been criticized for not moving faster – took action.

Irving becomes the second celebrity in less than two weeks to lose a major job over anti-Semitism. Adidas parted ways with Ye – the artist formerly known as Kanye West – late last month, a move the German company said would result in a loss of around $250 million this year after halting production of its Yeezy line as well as halting payments Yeez. and his company.

Has made anti-Semitic comments in interviews and on social media for weeks, including tweeting that there will soon be “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to the US defense readiness scale known as DEFCON.

Irving has expressed no shortage of controversial opinions throughout his career. He repeatedly questioned whether the Earth was round before finally apologizing to the science teachers. Last year, his refusal to receive the Covid-19 vaccine resulted in him being banned from most of the Nets’ home games.

The Nets played in Washington on Friday, winning 128-86 without Irving. The 42-point victory was the fourth largest in Nets franchise history.

Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said earlier Friday that Irving’s apology was a step forward, but that many other steps would be needed before he could resume playing.

“There will be some remedial steps and measures put in place so that he would obviously seek counsel … from dealing with some of the anti-hate and some of the Jewish leaders within our community,” Marks said. “He’s going to have to sit down with them, he’s going to have to sit down with the organization after this, and we’ll evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”

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