Nike announced Friday it has suspended its relationship with the Nets star Kyrie Irving in the wake of his promotion of an anti-Semitic film and book on social media. The company also said it will no longer launch the latest iteration of Irving’s shoe, the Kyrie 8.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement. “To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Irving has been suspended indefinitely (and for at least five games) by the Nets indefinitely after posts to his social media accounts about the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” that is based on a 2015 book of the same name by Ronald Dalton. Both the film and book are filled with Anti-Semitic tropes, including false assertions that “many famous high-ranking Jews” have “admitted” to “worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer.”
Irving initially failed to apologize or to say that he didn’t hold anti-Semitic beliefs, while also presenting himself as a victim when speaking with reporters about the controversy.
The 30-year-old, seven-time All-Star has been in a partnership with Nike since 2014. Nevertheless, ESPN reported in May that Nike was unlikely to offer a signature shoe deal to Irving beyond 2023 because of “uncertainties surrounding his NBA future.”
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