Nike officially ended its relationship with Kyrie Irving on Monday, a month after the NBA star shared a link to an antisemitic film on social media.
“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” the company said in a brief statement.
Irving had a longstanding and lucrative deal with the brand beginning in 2014. Nike suspended that relationship in November and said it wouldn’t release its latest Irving-branded shoe after he sparked a firestorm on social media for tweeting a link to the movie. The film contains hateful tropes about Jewish people as well as false claims that the Holocaust didn’t happen.
Irving initially declined to disavow antisemitism, saying he meant no harm sharing the link, and he was suspended by the Nets for at least five games beginning last month. The team said at the time he was “unfit to be associated” with the franchise. He later issued 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.”
Irving returned to the Nets on Nov. 20 after missing eight games.
The incident is the latest in a string of high-profile antisemitic comments by celebrities. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, went on a tirade last week during an appearance on Alex Jones’ podcast. He, too, lost a massive partnership deal with Adidas this year for his antisemitic views.
The New York Times noted last month that Nike could afford to drop Irving as other deals with the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James bring in much more. The Jordan Brand made up about $5 billion of the company’s $44.5 billion revenue last year, the paper added.
The deal was set to expire in October 2023.
“We mutually decided to part ways and we just wish Nike all the best,” Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, told the Times.
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