BREAKING NEWS: Nike suspends its partnership with Kyrie Irving after his anti-Semitism scandal and cancels the release of his Kyrie 8 shoes
Nike has ended its relationship with Kyrie Irving after a week where the Brooklyn Nets star was embroiled in an anti-Semitism row.
It also said it will not launch the Kyrie 8s later this month – the shoes designed by the player and the company.
A Nike statement said: ‘We believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism.
‘Therefore we have taken the decision to stop the relationship with Kyrie Irving and we will no longer launch the Kyrie 8.
‘We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.’
Irving was suspended by the team Thursday night “until he complies with a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful consequences of his behavior” because he refused to answer whether he had anti-Semitic beliefs after sharing an anti-Semitic video on his Twitter account.
Nike has ended its relationship with Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets
Irving finally apologized for his actions Thursday — after the Nets suspended him from the team
Irving posted a link to the Amazon page for the 2018 film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ last week and quickly found himself in hot water over the film’s anti-Semitic tropes.
Among other harmful ideas it claims ‘many famous high Jews have admitted to worshiping Satan or Lucifer.’
The film was based on a 2015 book of the same name.
Irving initially resisted the idea that he could share anti-Semitic ideas, saying on Thursday that he could not be anti-Semitic ‘because he knows where he comes from’.
Irving issued an apology later that night — after the Nets suspended him — and said he was ‘deeply sorry’ for his actions.
Nets general manager Sean Marks called the apology a ‘step in the right direction’ but ‘certainly not enough, and the Nets statement announcing Irving’s suspension was highly critical of the star.
“We have determined that Kyrie will serve a suspension without pay until he complies with a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful consequences of his conduct and the suspension period served is no less than five games,” said the Nets- partial statement.
‘We were dismayed today, when Kyrie was given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor to specifically acknowledge hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity – but failed – to clarify.
‘Such a failure to deny antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is contrary to the values of our organization, and is behavior that is damaging to the team. As a result, we believe that he is not currently suitable to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.’
It took Irving a while to get to the point of a full, unqualified apology.
Last Saturday, after a loss to the Pacers, Irving said he refused to “stand down” and doubled down on his faith.
“I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone,” Irving said. ‘I have a whole army around me.’
Irving was also quoted in a joint statement with the Nets and Anti-Defamation League where he took responsibility for his actions, saying that he ‘against[d] all forms and hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and affected every day.’
However, he did not explicitly say he was sorry until Thursday evening.