Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s signature shoe with Nike is in limbo.
Nike announced on Friday that it is suspending its longstanding relationship with Irving, who has been suspended by the Nets for his failure to definitively disavow antisemitism after promoting a controversial film on social media that contained “antisemitic disinformation.”
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “We’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately.”
Irving signed a signature shoe deal with Nike in 2014. By 2017, Irving had the best-selling basketball sneaker in the market and Forbes reported Irving’s Nike deal was worth $11 million in 2019. He’s released seven signature shoes with Nike and teased the upcoming release of the Kyrie 8, the newest edition of his shoe, as Nov. 11 on Twitter.
But Nike said it “will no longer launch the Kyrie 8.”
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” Nike concluded its statement.
SUSPENSION: Kyrie Irving suspended at least five games by Brooklyn Nets
APOLOGY: Kyrie Irving ‘deeply sorry’ to Jewish community
Irving’s relationship with Nike began to sour long before his latest scandal had him back in the headlines for off-court antics.
In July 2021, Irving said he had “nothing to do with the design or marketing” of the Kyrie 8 sneaker, describing leaked photos of the shoe as “trash.” He continued: “Nike plans to release it without my okay regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance to all of my sneakerheads and true supporters of the KAI11 brand.”
Irving walked his statement back days later, saying “it was unfair to put the blame on Nike or any one person. With that being said, we are diligently working, restructuring, and reimagining things together to make sure we get it right.”
On Thursday, the Nets suspended Irving for at least five games without pay after he failed to denounce the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America” and failed to definitively disavow antisemitism. The organization said Irving would be suspended “until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.” The minimum suspension will be five games.
Irving followed his suspension with an apology to the Jewish community and those “hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary” he shared online.
“I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote in an Instagram post.
Story Credit: usatoday.com