WASHINGTON — Nike has suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving in the wake of controversy over its social media post about a book and movie featuring anti-Semitic tropes, the company announced Friday night.
Nike also said it will no longer be launching Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8. The shoe, Irving’s eighth with the company, was slated to release on November 8.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” Nike said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Irving’s deal with Nike was initially set to expire on October 1, 2023. His signature line with Nike, which he has had since 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 in the entire league.
Irving, 30, was suspended Thursday night by the Nets for at least five games without pay after he failed to formally apologize for his post and make it clear whether he held anti-Semitic beliefs.
Irving apologized in an Instagram post later that evening, writing in part, “To all the Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected by my message, I am deeply sorry that I hurt you and I apologize.”
On Friday night, several players wore Kyrie-branded shoes. Going forward, it remains to be seen whether Nike will request current unqualified athletes to stop wearing previous Kyrie sneakers in games altogether.
Nick DePaula of ESPN contributed to this report.