Nike suspends relationship with Kyrie Irving, cancels Kyrie 8 launch


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

“At Nike, we believe that hate speech has no place and condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. “As such, we have decided to end our relationship with Kyrie Irving immediately and will no longer be releasing the Kyrie 8.” The Kyrie 8 is set to release this month, according to industry press.

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

Nike’s rebuke comes a day after the Brooklyn Nets suspended Irving has played at least five games without pay and is “currently unable to contact this organization.” The anti-Semitic film “Jews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” ​​has gone viral on social media. The Nets said Irving would be suspended “until a number of practical steps are taken to address the harmful effects of his conduct.”

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“Today, we are dismayed by Kyrie’s refusal to say he is not anti-Semitic and to acknowledge the hateful material in the film,” the Nets said in a statement after Irving’s press release. conference. “The first time he had a chance to clarify, he didn’t.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the press conference as a “setup” and added that the ADL could good conscienceAccept the $500,000 Irving agreed to donate to anti-hate causes the other day.

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For days, Irving refused to acknowledge or apologize for his anti-Semitism Before taking to Instagram on Thursday night, he wrote, “Posted a documentary that contains some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives and rhetoric that are racially/religiously insulting to the Jewish people.”

“I take full responsibility and accountability for my actions,” he said, adding, “To all Jewish families and communities who were hurt and harmed by my article, I deeply regret and apologize for the pain I caused.” He said, “Instead of focusing on the healing process of our fellow Jews who were wounded by the hate speech in the documentary, they were emotionally consumed by being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic in the first place.”

Irving has had a history of controversy. He refused to get a coronavirus vaccine and spoke out about New York City’s vaccine mandate. That led to the Nets chasing Irving for more than two months last season. Irving said at the time that “it’s not about politics, it’s about ‘my life and what I choose to do.’

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The Nets recently parted ways with coach Steve Nash after a slow start to the season, dogged by Irving’s controversial behavior.

Irving’s Nets suspension and fallout with Nike stemmed from Adidas cutting ties with artist E, also known as Kanye West, after he repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments on social media. As harassment, vandalism and violence against Jews is at its highest level in decades, experts are warning that brazen anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Ben Golliver contributed to this report.


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