Nike suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving on Friday, the latest action taken against the basketball star after he tweeted a link to an antisemitic film last week.
Nike’s move includes canceling the launch of the latest model of Irving’s shoe line, which was scheduled for release this month.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement to NPR. “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.”
The company’s action came a day after the Nets suspended Irving without pay for at least five games for “publicizing the film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate,” the team said.
The Nets said the suspension will be lifted once Irving “satisfies a series of objective remedial measures.”
Statement from the Brooklyn Nets pic.twitter.com/699px8XYpx
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 4, 2022
Irving issued an apology after the Nets suspended him.
“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,” he wrote. “I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”
Irving has been in the news over the past several years — and not necessarily for his play on the court. Last year, he was banned from playing in home games after he refused to get a COVID vaccine.
And in 2017, he said the Earth was flat. He later apologized for those remarks, saying he “didn’t realize the effect” his comments would have, according to ESPN.
NPR’s Ayana Archie contributed to this report.