Nike suspends Kyrie relationship; shoe launch off

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WASHINGTON — Nike has suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving in the wake of the controversy surrounding his social media post about a book and movie containing antisemitic tropes, the company announced Friday night.

Nike also said it will no longer launch Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8. The shoe, Irving’s eighth with the company, had been slated for a November 8 release.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Irving’s deal with Nike was initially set to expire on Oct. 1, 2023. His signature line with Nike, which he has had since 2014, is one of Nike’s most lucrative current player series in recent years, behind only LeBron James‘ signature series. Irving’s shoes are also among the most-worn across the league.

Irving, 30, was suspended by the Nets on Thursday night for at least five games without pay after failing to formally apologize for his post and failing to clarify whether he held antisemitic beliefs.

Irving apologized in an Instagram post later that night, writing 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.”

On Friday evening, several players were wearing Kyrie-branded shoes. Going forward, it remains to be seen if Nike will request current endorsing athletes to halt wearing prior Kyrie sneakers in games altogether.

ESPN’s Nick DePaula contributed to this report.

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