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A stray, allegedly antisemitic tweet by Kyrie Irving continues to reap L’s for the NBA-All Star point guard. In addition to his five-game minimum suspension, without pay, by the New Jersey Nets, Nike announced it is suspending its relationship with the NBA champion.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, this all started when Irving was called out for sharing a link to a film with antisemitic themes on his Twitter. Instead of saying “my bad,” Irving went out of his was to assert that he wasn’t promoting the film, that there’s no way he can be antisemitic and generally did everything the playbook tells you not to do.
After being given ample time and opportunity to apologize, and not doing so, the Nets announced his suspension on Thursday (Nov. 3). That evening is when Irving’s apology finally came, via his Twitter account.
“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, read part of Irving’s statement. “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.”
But clearly, it was too little too late for Nike, his longtime sneaker supplier and collaborator, that announced it was cutting ties on Friday evening.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” said Nike said in a press statement. “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.”
As the name gives away, the Swoosh was prepping the release of Irving’s eighth signature sneaker. Irving joined the brand in 2014, and soon enough his eventual signature model became one of its most popular.
Current pro players that Nike Basketball endorses include Irving’s teammate Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, among others.
Words have consequences. Reaction to Kyrie Irving getting dropped ranges from “what took to long” to “it’s conspiracy.” See some viral reactions in the gallery.