This extreme step by Nike was followed by Irving promoting a movie and book that consisted of antisemitic material. In addition, the American multinational corporation also decided against releasing the Kyrie 8 sneaker which was supposed to debut on November 8.
The announcement stated, “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.”
The initial partnership between the two parties was inked in 2014. According to the reports, the sportswear company was uncertain about signing a renewal beyond 2023 due to Irving’s “uncertainties surrounding his NBA future.”
Nike and Irving didn’t always have a smooth ride. As per reports, Irving called images of the in-process Kyrie-8 “trash.” He went on to add, “Nike plans to release it without my OK regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance to all of my sneakerheads and true supporters of the KAI11 brand.”
Brooklyn Nets also unveiled on Thursday that the team has decided to suspend Irving for at least five matches after the basketball player “refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs” while interacting with the press earlier in the day.