Nike has suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving following the contention encompassing his social post about a book and film containing prejudiced figures of speech. The organization announced this on Friday November 4.
Nike also said it will never again launch Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8. The shoe, which is Irving’s eighth with the organization, had been scheduled for a November 8 release.
According to Nike’s pre-arranged statement, they believe there is no place for hate speech, and they condemn any form of discrimination against Jews.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Irving’s deal with Nike was at first set to end on Oct. 1, 2023. His signature line with Nike, which he has had beginning around 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 November 4, several players were wearing Kyrie-branded shoes. But for now, it remains to be seen if Nike will request current endorsing athletes to halt wearing prior Kyrie sneakers in games altogether.