Nike Terminates Partnership With Kyrie Irving Over Anti-Semitic Controversy

BYGabriel Bras Nevares4.7K Views
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After the Nets player shared an anti-semitic film on Instagram, Nike has cut ties while Amazon is still sharing the film.

Nike has suspended its relationship with Kyrie Irving as of last night, according to NBA reporter Shams Charania. The announcement comes just a few days after the Brooklyn Nets player shared an anti-semitic film via Instagram titled Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America and failed to take accountability for his comments.

"Nike announces the company is suspending its relationship with Kyrie Irving, effective immediately," Charania tweeted. Also, Nike will no longer launch his new Kyrie 8. Charania added some words directly from Nike's statement in another tweet.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Kyrie's comments have also resulted in a five-game minimum suspension from the Brooklyn Nets. As such, conversations are raging around his long-term longevity on the team. According to Stephen A. Smith, it's unlikely that Nets owner Joe Tsai will want Kyrie to play for next year's season. Nets general manager Sean Marks has reportedly said that Kyrie's subsequent apology is a step in the right direction, but that he will have to meet with Jewish leaders, among other steps, to return to the court.

The 30-year-old published that apology on Thursday on Instagram, and fixed the lack of recongition that truly sparked this public backlash. In it, Kyrie acknowledged many of his mistakes, although many people still believe he hasn't learned. Many cite a patronizing tone and say the post gives "I'm sorry if I offended you" energy.

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"To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post," wrote the NBA star. He continued, "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."

Further on, Kyrie said, "I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti-semitism 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."

This apology isn't enough for Nike, it seems, and their relationship with Kyrie was already rocky. He called Nike's leaked Kyrie 8 designs "trash" and said they were releasing them without his input. Nike renamed the design to the Kyrie Infinity and announced the Kyrie 8 this year before they terminated Kyrie's partnership. ESPN reporters Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne had said that Nike would not be renewing Kyrie's contract following this news, although that never got confirmation from the company.

The impact of Kyrie's controversial comments has gone beyond basketball and shoes, however. The Brooklyn Nets, the Anti-Defamation League, and a slew of other people have called on Amazon and Jeff Bezos to remove the film in question. The company has said nothing regarding the documentary. Hebrews to Negroes is currently available for rent at $11.99 and for purchase at $49.99.

Stay tuned to HotNewHipHop for the latest on Kyrie Irving's public reckoning.

About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.