Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has had his partnership with Nike suspended following his social media post regarding an antisemitic documentary.
Irving had tweeted about the documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories regarding the Jewish community. He initially defended himself, stating he had the right to post his own beliefs, but later deleted the tweet after facing backlash.
Irving, who had been with Nike since 2014, had his partnership initially ending in October 2023. His latest collection with Nike, the Kyrie 8, was expected to be released in November 2022.
Irving also received suspension from the Nets for five games without pay for his comments.
Nike released a statement regarding the situation, which read:
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. 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.“
Irving himself has since then put out a statement on the matter, saying:
“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 apologise. 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.
“I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all.”
Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks also spoke about the incident, stating:
“There is going to be some remedial steps and measures that have been put in place for him to obviously seek some counselling, from dealing with some anti-hate and some Jewish leaders within our community.
“He’s going to have to sit down with them, he’s going to have to sit down with the organisation after this, and we’ll evaluate and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.“