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Nike Cuts Ties with Kyrie Irving Following Antisemitism Controversy

“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 [shoe brand].”
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December 6, 2022
Photo by Erik Drost/Flickr/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Nike has officially ended their partnership with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving on December 5 after the point guard posted a link to an antisemitic film on Amazon.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report on the development on Twitter, citing a Nike spokesperson. Nike had suspended their relationship with Irving on November 4, saying in a statement at the time: “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 [shoe brand].” The Kyrie 8 had been scheduled to become available in November.

Irving’s agent and stepmother Shtellia Riley Irving said in a statement that it was a mutual decision for Irving and Nike to go their separate ways. Following The Athletic’s report, Irving tweeted a gif that said: “There’s nothing more priceless than being free.” A couple hours later he tweeted, “Anyone who has even spent their hard earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected. it’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.”

The movie in question, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up America,” promotes “claims that modern Jews are imposters who stole the religious heritage of Black people” as well as “claims of a global Jewish conspiracy to oppress and defraud Black people” among other antisemitic tropes, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Irving was suspended for several NBA games and eventually apologized for sharing a link to the film.

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