NBA. Nike suspends partnership with Kyrie Irving after promoting anti-Semitic film
NBA. Nike suspends its partnership with Kyrie Irving, after his promotion of an anti-Semitic film
At the heart of a media storm since his promotion of an anti-Semitic film, Kyrie Irving had been sidelined from his NBA club Brooklyn Nets. The equipment manufacturer Nike announced Friday, November 4, to suspend its partnership with the basketball player.
Nike has suspended its partnership with Nets basketball player
Equipment maker Nike announced Friday, Nov. 4, that it has suspended its partnership with basketball player Kyrie Irving, who has been at the center of a media storm since his promotion of an anti-Semitic film, which also led his NBA club the Brooklyn Nets to sideline him.
"Failure to disavow anti-Semitism"
"At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement. "To that end, we have made the decision to suspend our collaboration with Kyrie Irving, effective immediately," Nike continued, without specifying until when, or if it portends a breakup. In the meantime, "the commercial launch of the Kyrie 8 shoe", developed with the player, "will not take place", as was planned this month, added the brand with the comma, saying it was "deeply saddened and disappointed by this situation and its impact on everyone.
This decision echoes the even stronger and more definitive one by Adidas, which ten days ago broke the contract linking the three-stripes brand with rapper Kanye West, who was suspended from Twitter and Instagram after writing that he would attack Jews. Irving, who ended up apologizing "to all the Jewish families and communities that were hurt and affected" by his message, is not yet completely dropped, neither by his club, nor the NBA, which has not yet sanctioned him, nor by Nike.
The Nets have nevertheless suspended him for at least five league games on Thursday, saying they were "dismayed by his inability to disavow anti-Semitism" and by his longstanding refusal to apologize for promoting on his social networks a film with an anti-Semitic character, "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America" by putting links to the site of Amazon to rent or buy it.
This sidelining could last longer, however, with the Brooklyn franchise explaining that beyond the apology made, there was still a way to go. "Actions speak louder than words. And so he will have time to reflect on all this," said the general manager of the Nets, wishing in particular that Irving "meet with leaders of the Jewish community in Brooklyn to educate himself on issues related to anti-Semitism.