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Nike announced that it has suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, and will no longer release his new sneakers.
On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets suspended guard Kyrie Irving for at least five games without pay after refusing to apologize for promoting an antisemitic film on his Twitter account, despite the team giving multiple opportunities to do so. Shortly thereafter, Irving released a statement on Instagram, apologizing “to all Jewish families and communities.”
But on Friday, Nike released a statement to announce that they are suspending their relationship with Irving. Additionally, his brand new sneaker, the Kyrie 8, will no longer be released by the company.
“We believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in their statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Nike suspends partnership with Kyrie Irving
In the aftermath of the tweet in question, Irving got into a contentious back-and-forth with a reporter last Friday, where he called an Alex Jones conspiracy theory “true,” and claimed the reporter was “dehumanizing” him.
This past Wednesday, Irving, the Nets, and the Anti-Defamation League released a statement announcing the donation of $1 million to “causes and organizations that eradicate hate and intolerance” from communities. Irving’s statement failed to include a direct apology.
On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement regarding Irving’s lack of apology, saying that he was “disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.”
When meeting with the media on Thursday, Irving again refused to apologize, or say he did not hold antisemitic beliefs.
Shortly thereafter, the Nets announced they were suspending Irving “no less than five games” without pay.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on Twitter that they are no longer accepting Irving’s $500,000 donation, saying that Irving “feels no accountability for his actions.”