Nike has parted ways with Kyrie Irving.
The shoe giant announced Friday night that it was ending its relationship with the Brooklyn guard, who was suspended by the Nets for what the team called a repeated failure to “state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs.”
The Nets made that move Thursday, and a day later, Nike made its decision as well.
“At Nike, we believe that hate speech has no place and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said. “To that end, we have made the decision to terminate our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and no longer launch Kyrie 8.”
Irving has had a signature line with Nike since 2014.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” Nike said.
Irving signed with Nike in 2011, the No. 1 pick in that year’s NBA draft. 1 Shortly after being selected. Irving’s first signature shoe was released three years later, and the popularity of the Kyrie line led to him earning $11 million annually from Nike endorsements.
The Kyrie 8 is expected to launch next week. Earlier models of his previous shoes went on sale on Nike’s website Friday night.
Nike’s decision came a day after the Nets handed down his suspension, which will last at least five games, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he wanted an apology from Irving over his decision to post a link to the documentary. Hebrews to Negroes: Awakening Black America – A film containing antisemitic material.
Irving defended his right to post whatever he wanted, then declined to give a direct answer when asked Thursday if he held anti-Semitic beliefs. Later, hours after the Nets suspended him, Irving apologized 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. “I initially reacted with emotion to being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who were wounded by the hateful remarks made in the documentary.”
Irving is the second major celebrity to lose a major shoe deal over anti-Semitism in less than two weeks. Adidas had to part ways with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West – late last month, after the German company said it would cause a loss of around $250 million this year after halting production and shutting down production of its Yeezy products. Payments to Yeh and his companies.
For weeks, Yeh made anti-Semitic comments in interviews and on social media, including a Twitter post that he would soon go to “Death Con 3 on the Jewish People,” an apparent reference to the US defense readiness status scale known as DEFCON.