Nike announced on Friday night that it has suspended its relationship with Kyrie Irving. The decision comes after the Nets point guard promoted an anti-Semitic movie based on a problematic book.
In regard to the suspension, Nike released the following statement to CNBC’s Sara Eisen:
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. 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 and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”— Nike on its suspended relationship with Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving’s brand of shoes, which were first released in 2014, are among the top-five best-sellers for Nike. They do not come close to touching the sales of Jordan Brand or LeBron.
Nike choosing to suspend Irving comes one week after Nets owner Joe Tsai condemned his star guard tweeting about ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ on Amazon. The movie, which is based on a book with the same title, is full of disinformation that is directly anti-Semitic.
In wake of the tweet, the fallout has been immense.
The NBA Player’s Association, of which Irving serves as Vice President, also released a statement that denounced anti-Semitism. The Nets and Irving donated $500,000 each to the Anti-Defamation League.
Irving said in a statement that he was taking “full responsibility” and was donating money “toward causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
Almost 24 hours later, Brooklyn announced that it decided to suspend Kyrie Irving without pay. His future with the Nets, and in the NBA, is in question.
And now, so is his future with Nike. The multinational corporation did not say how long the suspension would last, nor did it end its relationship with Irving. The Kyrie 8 launch, however, is cancelled.