Kyrie Irving’s Relationship With Nike Likely Over, According To Nike Co-Founder

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nike co-founder Phil Knight gave an update on the company’s relationship with Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving while speaking with CNBC reporter Becky Quick. The news is not positive for Irving as Knight stated that the business relationship between Nike and Irving is likely over following reports of the player promoting a film containing antisemitic material and claims.

“Kyrie stepped over the line,” said Knight. “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.”

Nike not only suspended its relationship with Irving, but also reportedly emailed retailers asking them to remove the unreleased Nike Kyrie 8’s from their store shelves. According to reports made by Sports Illustrated, the email read, “Effective immediately, stores are to pull all Kyrie 8 models from sales floor and place in their back room. Stores are not to sell any Kyrie 8 product until further notice.”

Irving is suspended for four games without pay for allegedly retweeting a film that contained antisemitic material. Irving’s suspension was due to the player not immediately setting the record straight with the media by refusing to disavow antisemitic views. The player is being required by the team to complete six tasks before being 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.

However, fellow NBA players such as LeBron James and Jaylen Brown have recently spoken up against the Nets’ method of disciplining Irving. Both Brown and James believe Irving does not hold antisemitic views and that the situation was simply the player making a mistake. Additionally, James criticized the Nets discipline by calling it excessive.

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play,” James said. “That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”

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