UPDATED 11/10, 12:00 p.m.: In an interview with CNBC today, Nike co-founder and former chairman Phil Knight touched on the brand’s suspension of its partnership with Irving.
“Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight said. “It’s kind of that simple. 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.”
Knight was doubtful when asked about the possibility of the brand working with Irving in the future. “I would doubt that [Nike] would go back, but I don’t know for sure,” he said.
In addition to Nike’s decision to distance itself from the Brooklyn Nets star guard after he shared a link to an antisemitic film on social media, the Nets have also suspended him for at-least five games without pay. NBA insider Shams Charania reported last week that Irving must fulfill six requirements to be reinstated by the team, which included apologizing and condemning the film he promoted, make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes, complete sensitivity training, complete antisemitism training, meet with the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish leaders and lastly, meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate an understanding of the situation.
See original story below.
The fallout from Kyrie Irving sharing a link to an antisemitic film on Instagram continues, as his biggest endorsement partner, Nike, has responded to his recent actions.
Shams Charania reports that Nike is suspending its partnership with Irving effective immediately. As a result, the company will no longer launch the Kyrie 8, which was set to release in various colorways this month.
Nike also issued the following statement regarding its decision to take action.
The move comes after the Brooklyn Nets announced that they’ve suspended the point guard for a minimum of five games, citing what they felt was his refusal to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film.” NBA commissioner Adam Silver is also expected to meet with Irving soon.
The relationship between Nike and Irving was already in question after he publicly slammed what was supposed to be the Kyrie 8 last season, calling the finished design “trash” in a comment on Instagram. The shoe was later renamed the Kyrie Infinity, shifting the Kyrie 8 name to this season’s model. Following that incident, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that Nike would not be renewing Irving’s contract following the 2022-23 season and that the Kyrie 8 would be his last sneaker with the company. That news was never confirmed by Nike.
In a post shared on Instagram on Thursday, Irving did apologize for his actions, saying “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.”