Nike has announced that it has terminated its partnership with Brooklyn Nets players Kyrie Irving.
Nike had suspended the partnership with Irving following his comments on anti-Semitic messages in a documentary. Nike, previously set to launch the Kyrie 8′ sneakers, also stated that it would not be releasing the collection as a result of Irving’s actions. Irving had been a Nike athlete since 2014.
The Brooklyn Nets had initially suspended Irving for five games without pay, following which Irving had issued an apology. Due to his suspension from the team, Irving eventually missed a total of eight matches for the Nets.
The Nets had also stated that they were working with Irving to “make repeated attempts to work with [him] to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicising a film containing deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hate”.
Nike released a short statement regarding the matter, which read:
“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike (NKE) athlete.“
Shetellia Riley, Irving’s agent and stepmother, commented:
“Both parties have agreed to mutually part ways. We wish Nike the best in their future endeavours.“
Speaking in November, after Nike had initially suspended the partnership with Irving, its co-founder Phil Knight had also shared his thoughts about the incident.
Knight had stated:
“Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple, so he made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And yeah, I was fine with that.
“We look at who we sign and how much we pay, and we look at not only how good the athlete is, but how his or her character (is), so it’s not an exact science, but it’s a process that we go through with a lot of intensity, with a lot of people sticking their hand in it, and that’s one that goes all the way to the CEO because some of the numbers (athletes) are paid are pretty big.“