Nike has cut ties with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. The development comes following a controversial social media post about a book and movie containing antisemitic tropes.
In a statement, Nike said it will no longer launch Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8. The shoe, said to be his eighth, was due to be released on November 8, according to ESPN.
Earlier, the Brooklyn Nets had suspended Irving for at least five games after he “stopped short of fully disavowing the documentary on two occasions,” according to Reuters. He has since apologized for promoting a project he said contained “false anti-Semitic statements.”
“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 on Instagram.
“I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labelled [antisemitic], instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”
However, the apology did little to stop Nike from pulling out of its partnership with him. “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company noted in a statement. “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,” Nike said. Irving first signed a deal with Nike when he became the No 1 pick in that year’s NBA draft in 2011. According to the Guardian, he released his first signature shoe three years later and made $11m annually just from the Nike endorsement.
Irving becomes the second black celebrity in less than two weeks to lose a major shoe deal over antisemitism. Adidas cut ties with Kanye West, now known as Ye, over antisemitic tweets. It cost Ye $1.4 billion. He now has a reported net worth of $400 million and is no longer part of the billionaires’ club.