Nike suspends relationship with Kyrie Irving amid anti-Semitism fallout


Nike said late Friday that it has suspended its relationship with NBA star Keri Irving, in the latest fallout after the basketball player shared an anti-Semitic film on social media and refused for days to apologize or repudiate anti-Semitism.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. “To this end, we have taken a decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will not be launching Kyrie 8.” The Kyrie 8 shoe was scheduled to launch this month, according to industry publications.

“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and the impact it is having on everyone,” Nike said.

The reprimand from Nike comes a day after the Brooklyn Nets suspended Irving for at least five unpaid matches, saying he was “currently unfit to be associated” with the organization after participating An anti-Semitic movie called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” ​​on social media. The Nets said Irving would be suspended “until he meets a series of objective remedial actions that address the harmful effect of his behavior.”

“We were appalled today, when we had a chance at a media briefing, that Kerry refused to state unequivocally that he does not hold anti-Semitic beliefs, and does not acknowledge certain hateful material in the film,” the network said in a statement Thursday. conspiracy. “This wasn’t the first time he had the opportunity – but he failed – to explain.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called the press conference a “disaster,” adding that the Anti-Defamation League cannot “in good conscienceAccept the $500,000 Irving had agreed to donate to anti-hate causes the day before.

Irving refused for several days to acknowledge or apologize for anti-Semitism Before writing on Instagram late Thursday that he had “published a documentary containing some false anti-Semitic phrases, narratives and language that were untrue and insulting to the Jewish race/religion”.

He said he took “full accountability and responsibility for my actions,” adding: “To all the Jewish families and communities affected and affected by my position, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain, and I apologize.” He said he “at first reacted emotionally to being unjustly labeled an anti-Semite, rather than focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters who had been injured by the hateful remarks made in the documentary.”

Irving has a history of controversy. He has been outspoken about his refusal to get a coronavirus vaccine and about the vaccine mandate in New York City. The melee sent the net to keep Irving out for more than two months last season. Irving said at the time that it was “not a political thing here” but “has to do with my life and what I choose to do”.

The Nets, consumed by Irving’s controversial behavior and mired in a slow start to the season, have split from coach Steve Nash.

Irving’s comment by the Nets and his fallout with Nike come after Adidas broke off her relationship with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, after he repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments on social media. Experts have warned of increasingly brazen anti-Semitism at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence directed against Jews are at their highest level in decades.

Ben Gulliver contributed to this report.

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