Nike has suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, the company announced in a statement on Friday. This comes a day after the Netsfor his promotion of a film containing antisemitic material and his subsequent choice not to offer any kind of apology for a week. Nike also said it will not launch the Kyrie 8, the latest version of Irving’s signature sneaker.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antesemitism,” the company said in its statement. “To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened a disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Irving has been wearing unreleased versions of the Kyrie 8 throughout the season, and insinuated on Twitter that they would be released to the public on Nov. 11.
On Oct. 27, Irving shared via Twitter the link to a film entitled, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which contains antisemitic material. In ensuing conversations with the media, Irving fell short of issuing a clear apology, and got into an argumentative exchange with a reporter when pressed on the subject. Despite condemnations from Nets owner Joe Tsai and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Irving held his ground until the Nets announced the suspension, saying that Irving must complete “a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct,” as he is “currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
A few hours after the announcement of the suspension, Irving issued an apology on Instagram, which said, in part, “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.” It was also reported on Friday by ESPN that Tsaiin the aftermath of his initial Twitter post, but his text messages went unreturned.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said on Friday morning that Irving’s apology was “a step” toward being able to rejoin the team, but there are more that had yet to be completed, including a meeting with Jewish leaders, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
As of now, Irving’s status with the Nets remains unclear, but should the five-game suspension hold Irving would be able to return to action on Nov. 13 when the Nets take on the Lakers in Los Angeles.