Nike Cuts Ties With Controversial Nets Guard Kyrie Irving
The company confirmed that the NBA star "is no longer a Nike athlete."
Just over a month after the controversial NBA star posted a Twitter link to a documentary containing antisemitic tropes, Nike has officially dropped Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving as a brand ambassador.
The athleticwear giant confirmed the move in a terse message to CNN: "Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete."
Irving and Nike — which suspended its relationship with the athlete on November 4 — agreed to part ways, according to Irving's agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley. Riley issued a statement saying, "We wish Nike the best in their future endeavors."
In a tweet, Irving expressed his gratitude to those who have supported his work, writing, "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."
This is just the latest development following the controversy surrounding Irving's recent linking to the antisemitic film Hebrews to Negroes, from his Twitter account. Irving was criticized for sharing the film, which contains hateful and discriminatory content.
Irving has since apologized for sharing the film, saying he was sorry to those "hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary." However, he claimed that he was not aware of its content.
However, some have questioned the sincerity of his apology, with an NBC News columnist calling it "perfunctory and performative." The incident also sparked a larger conversation about Irving's beliefs and his responsibility as a public figure to avoid promoting hate and bigotry.
Explaining the initial suspension of the relationship in November, Nike co-founder Phil Knight laid out the company's basic reasoning behind the move, telling CNBC that Irving "stepped over the line" and "made some statements that we just can't abide."