Nike is calling a time out on its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and will no longer release his Kyrie 8 signature shoes, the company announced Friday evening.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” the sportswear giant said in a statement to the Associated Press. “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 shoes are Irving’s eighth with the retailer and were scheduled for a Nov. 8 release.
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The announcement came one day after the Nets suspended the point guard for promoting an anti-Semitic film.
“Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate,” the Nets said in a statement posted to social media. “We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.”
The team’s decision was in response to Irving tweeting a link to the 2018 film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America on Oct. 27. The film is based on Ronald Dalton’s book by the same name, and has been heavily criticized for promoting “anti-Semitic tropes.”
Irving’s suspension will last at least five games without pay.