c-title pmc-u-font-size-20 pmc-u-font-size-38@tablet pmc-u-font-size-46@desktop-xl u-text-align-center@mobile-max u-letter-spacing-0025 pmc-u-line-height-normal u-line-height-45@tablet pmc-u-padding-t-1 pmc-u-padding-t-050@mobile-max”>Kyrie Irving Dropped By Nike Amid Controversy Over Highlighting Antisemitic Movie – Update
By Tom Tapp
Deputy Managing Editor
More Stories By Tom
November 4, 2022 6:46pm
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images
UPDATED with latest: Nike on Friday night became the latest company to distance itself from Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, saying it will “suspend our relationship” with the all-star guard. The shoe brand also said it would not move forward with launching its latest line of Irving-branded shoe, the Kyrie 8.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement this evening, per the AP. “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.”
Brooklyn Nets Suspend Kyrie Irving For "No Less Than Five Games"
The move comes after Irving on Thursday night gave a more definitive apology about the impact of posting a link to a movie that espouses disproven anti-Semitic tropes. That wasn’t fast enough for the Nets, though. who suspended him for “no less than five games” earlier in the day for a failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith estimated that, in salary and endorsements, Irving’s recent actions and his refusal to be vaccinated in the 2020-2021 season have combined to cost him $330 million “and counting.”
PREVIOUSLY, 11:03 a.m.: They say the third time’s the charm, but it remains to be seen if that is the case for Kyrie Irving.
After making two less-than-contrite statements in the past week about the impact of posting a link to a movie that espouses disproven anti-Semitic tropes, Brooklyn Nets superstar point guard Kyrie Irving finally used the words “I apologize” and “I am deeply sorry,” and directed them “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post.” That third statement on the topic was posted overnight on Irving’s Instagram page.
Irving explained, “I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.”
It’s been a rolling series of consequences for Irving since he posted the link last week, including statements of censure from the Anti-Defamation League, the Nets, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA Players Association and numerous legends of the game. Then, last night, the Brooklyn team announced it would be suspending Irving for “no less than five games” without pay.
While Irving has finally offered the most basic words of contrition, his previous intransigence has broken trust with some in the league as well as those who were harmed by his words.
“This is an encouraging step from @KyrieIrving,” wrote ADL President and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Twitter this morning. “But actions speak louder than words. Because of his post and previous refusals to walk it back, the #antisemitic film/book is now a best seller in multiple categories on @amazon. There is a lot more to do to undo this damage.”
This is an encouraging step from @KyrieIrving. But actions speak louder than words. Because of his post and previous refusals to walk it back, the #antisemitic film/book is now a best seller in multiple categories on @amazon. There is a lot more to do to undo this damage. https://t.co/eesepjGCzi
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 4, 2022
Greenblatt and his organization had, on Wednesday, issued a joint statement with Irving and the Nets with the comment, “In light of the events from the past week, we commend the @BrooklynNets and @KyrieIrving for listening to the concerns of everyone who spoke out against #antisemitism.”
But Irving’s unwillingness to give a definitive “Yes” or “No” to a question yesterday about whether he holds any antisemitic views, threw the whole situation back into chaos, with Greenblatt tweeting, “The answer to the question ‘Do you have any antisemitic beliefs’ is always ‘NO’ without equivocation. We took @KyrieIrving at his word when he said he took responsibility, but today he did not make good on that promise.”
“Kyrie Irving’s career is in trouble,” said ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on First Take this morning. Smith said recently that he could not find a single NBA general manager interested in signing Irving for a long term contract after his deal with the Nets expires this season. (The Nets have not extended him, either.) ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski said this morning that there was some question whether the Nets themselves would want the superstar point guard, who averaged 32 points through the first six games of the season, back after his suspension.
Nets GM Sean Marks said this morning that Irving would need to sit down with leaders in the Jewish community and undergo counseling in order to move forward.
League Commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday that he would be meeting with Irving on the subject of his social media post and subsequent comments this week.
Smith estimated that, in salary and endorsements, Irving’s intransigence over his recent actions and his refusal to be vaccinated in the 2020-2021 season have combined to cost him $330 million “and counting.”
Here is the entire statement Irving posted last night:
While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions. I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.
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. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I Am.
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