Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Fires Back At Nike Over Kyrie Irving Comments

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown weighed in Friday on comments made by Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight to CNBC reporter Becky Quick. Knight recently gave an update on the company’s relationship with Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, stating that the player stepped over the line with his actions. Knight also said that the relationship between Nike and Irving is likely over.

Brown wrote on social media, questioning Knight’s comments. The player asked, “Since when did Nike care about ethics?”

Brown also recently told the media that he does not believe Irving is antisemitic. The player says the situation was due to Irving simply making a mistake. However, Nike’s founders clearly feel differently.

“Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight recently told CNBC. “It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by, and that’s why we ended the relationship. And, I was fine with that.”

The company also released an official statement, confirming the termination of the relationship and halting the launch of the unreleased Nike Kyrie 8 shoes from all of its retailers. Irving’s other Nike shoes reportedly are still available for purchase.

“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,” a company representative said.

Meanwhile, New York Post writer Max Weisman speculates that Brown’s comments relate to allegations facing Nike. The company has been accused of using forced labor and sweatshops in Eastern Asia. Brown is also the Vice President of the NBPA. Reports indicate the NBPA may try to appeal Irving’s four-game suspension. Multiple players have expressed discomfort at the terms imposed on Irving by the team in order for him to be reinstated.

Irving is required to complete six tasks before he is permitted to rejoin in team activities.

The tasks include apologizing or condemning the movie he promoted on social media, donating $500,000 to anti-hate causes and completing sensitivity training. Additionally, the player must also complete antisemitic training, meet with the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish leaders and meet with owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate a better understanding of the topic. The next time he can return to the court if he completes the six tasks will be on November 13th against the Los Angeles Lakers.

New York Post has more HERE.