Nike has suspended its relationship with Kyrie Irving and canceled plans to release his next signature shoe, after the Brooklyn Nets guard tweeted a link to a movie containing anti-Semitic content. There is a latest chapter on the results of the latter.
The shoe giant announced Friday night that it would end its relationship with Irving, who has been suspended by the Nets after the team “unequivocally stated that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs.” “I have repeatedly failed.
The Nets made the move Thursday, banning Irving for at least five games, and a day later, Nike made its decision. The actions drew widespread criticism — from the Anti-Defamation League and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, among others.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said. “To that end, we have decided to immediately suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving and will no longer be launching the Kyrie 8.”
Irving has had a signature line with Nike since 2014.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by this situation and the impact it has had on everyone,” Nike said.
Irving signed with Nike in 2011, shortly after being selected No. 1 overall in that year’s NBA draft. Irving’s first signature shoe was released three years later, and the popularity of the Kyrie line earned him $11 million a year from Nike endorsements alone.
The Kyrie 8 was expected to release in the next week. Previous models of his shoes were still for sale on Nike’s website Friday night.
Irving posted a tweet — which has since been deleted — last week with a link to the documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews. . In a controversial postgame interview session last Saturday, Irving defended his right to post whatever he wanted.
The result just continued from there. The NBA released a statement over the weekend that did not name Irving but condemned all forms of hate speech. A day after his tweet was removed, fans wearing “Fight Anti-Semitism” shirts occupied courtside seats at Monday night’s Brooklyn-Indiana game. The Nets and coach Steve Nash parted ways on Tuesday, a development that has been overshadowed by the Irving saga.
On Wednesday, Irving said he opposes all forms of hate, and he and Nate announced they would each donate $500,000 to groups that work to end it. Silver then issued a new statement calling for an apology by name Irving, and Irving declined to answer directly when asked Thursday if he held anti-Semitic beliefs.
This, of course, was the last straw for Nate, 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 posted the documentary.
“To all the Jewish families and communities hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “Instead of initially focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful comments made in the documentary, I became emotional at being unfairly labeled anti-Semitic. reacted.”
A day later, Nike — which had also been criticized for not moving faster — took action.
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The Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least 5 games without pay.
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Irving has become the second celebrity in less than two weeks to lose a major shoe deal over anti-Semitism. Adidas parted ways with Y – the artist formerly known as Kanye West – late last month, with the German company saying it would result in a loss of $250 million this year as a result of its Along with halting production of the Yeezy product line, Ye would have to stop payments. and its companies.
For weeks, he made anti-Semitic comments in interviews and on social media, including a Twitter post that he would soon “match the Jews to the death,” a state of U.S. defense readiness known as DEFCON. is a clear reference to the scale of
Irving has had 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, he was banned from most of the Nets’ home games due to his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Nets won 128-86 without Irving in Washington on Friday. The 42-point win tied for the fourth-most in Nets franchise history.
Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said earlier Friday that Irving’s waiver is a step forward, but several other steps will be needed before he can resume playing.
“There are going to be some corrective actions and steps that are obviously put in place to get some counseling to deal with the anti-hate and some of the Jewish leaders in our community,” Marks said. “He’ll have to sit down with them, then he’ll have to sit down with the organization, and we’ll evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”
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