The consequences for Kyrie Irving continue after he promoted of an antisemitic book and movie on social media.
Following the Brooklyn Nets decision to suspend the basketball player for at least five games without pay, Nike announced Friday night that they are parting ways with him. It also will not release their latest sneaker collaboration, the Kyrie 8 sneakers, which were supposed to launch within the next week, per The Hollywood Reporter. The shoe company said in a statement to People:
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. 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.”
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We cannot blame Nike for wanting to split from the Nets guard following his recent actions. As you may know, Kyrie has been under fire after he shared a link to the 2018 film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which is filled with harmful and disgusting antisemitic tropes. The athlete sparked further outrage on social media when he refused to apologize for the post or give a direct stance against antisemitism when questioned by reporters about the situation on Thursday. Instead, he gave this response:
“I’m not the one who made the documentary. I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from. … falsehoods [in the documentary] are unfortunate. And it’s not that I don’t believe in the Holocaust. I never said that. Never, ever have said it. It’s not come out of my mouth. I never tweeted it. I never liked anything like it. So the Holocaust in itself is an event that means something to a large group of people that suffered something that could have been avoided.”
WTF? Only after the Nets suspended him for his failure to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs” hours after the press conference did Kyrie offer up an apology on Instagram, 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. 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 [sic] 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.”
Yeah… This apology does not come across as sincere, considering it came once his team decided to suspend him for his problematic behavior. Reactions to the latest in the scandal? Let us know.
[Image via Derrick Salters/WENN, Nike]