Nike cancels Kyrie Irving shoe release, suspends relationship with Nets star in antisemitism fallout

Nike said Friday it was suspending its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and will not release a new shoe named after him following controversy over a post linking to an antisemitic movie.

Nike said the suspension is effectively immediately and the company will no longer launch the Kyrie 8 shoe.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Irving, 30, has had several Nike shoes that bear his name, including the Kyrie 7, which launched in 2020.

He has been under fire from within the NBA and from outside the league after he posted a link to a 2018 movie called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which has been denounced as antisemitic.

Irving’s response to the outrage further inflamed the issue.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called out Irving on Thursday for failing to offer an unqualified apology or denounce “the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.”

That same day the Nets suspended Irving for at least five games, after Irving failed to clearly say he has no antisemitic beliefs during what the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt called a “debacle of a press conference.”

Irving offered an apology in an Instagram post Thursday night.

He said the movie he posted “contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive.”

“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 apologize,” Irving wrote.

The Nets on Thursday said the suspension would be at least five games, but said it would last “until he satisfies a series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct.”

The team said that Thursday’s media availability was not the first time Irving had the opportunity to say he has no antisemitic beliefs or to acknowledge hateful material in the film, but failed to do so.

“Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team,” the Nets said. “Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”