Nike cuts ties with Kyrie Irving 1 month after suspending relationship with Nets star
- the company she called off her relationship with Irving on Nov. 4 and said he would no longer release Irving’s Kyrie 8 sneakers after Irving endorsed a movie with anti-Semitic views.
- During a television interview with CNBC on November 10, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said about Nike’s relationship with Irving: “I doubt we’d come back, but I don’t know for sure.”
- Irving was suspended for at least five games and eventually missed eight, returning to play against the Grizzlies on November 20.
Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete, Nike spokesman says. The parties have parted ways a month after Nike suspended its relationship with the Nets star. Irving has one of the most popular signature shoes in the NBA and is now a sneaker free agent.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 5, 2022
Irving shared a link to the documentary on various social media platforms on October 27 Nets initially condemned the posts in a statement.
Irving met with the media on October 29 and November 3 and failed to apologize unequivocally to post the content and totally condemn the movie. He also endorsed the “New World Order” views of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and questioned the backlash he received for sharing the link to the film.
The Nets said in a separate statement when Irving was suspended that the organization “made repeated attempts to work with (him) to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, beginning with the publicity for a film that contained deeply disturbing anti-Semitic hatred.”
On November 4, Nike announced that it was suspending its relationship with Irving, effective immediately. The company said, in part: “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
What does this mean for Irving going forward?
Irving is now a sneakerhead free agent. It seems like a confusing set of events for a player who is still among the N.B.Ais the best and that he once had his own popular shoe line. But it’s also not surprising after everything that’s happened to Irving since last fall, from him playing in just 29 games because he didn’t want to comply with a New York City vaccination mandate to being suspended for eight matches for tweeting a link to an anti-Semitic movie and then refuses to show remorse for it.
At another time, with another NBA star of his caliber, sneaker companies could be in a bidding war for his services, but it will be interesting to see which company, if any, will want to sign Irving now . The economics of the shoe industry are changing and Irving is bringing controversy with it, so it remains to be seen what the future holds for Irving from that business perspective. — Vorkunov
What they are saying
Irving tweeted the following shortly after The Athletic broke the news of the split from Nike:
— Hello (@KyrieIrving) December 5, 2022
(Photo: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)
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